A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning (Book the First)

BadBeginning ♦

Title:  The Bad Beginning

Author: Lemony Snicket

Publisher: Egmont               

Number of pages: 163        

Type of Book: Fiction

Age: 8-12

Available here: BLENCO supermarket, Ajah, Lagos

Price: N1000

MY SUMMARY (without the ending):

‘If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book’

This is the first line from this book and one of the most memorable first lines I’ve ever seen. Violet, Klaus and Sunny are the wealthy Baudelaire children whose lives turned upside down when their parents died in a fire accident, which also took their home and everything they owned. A series of unfortunate events follows afterwards. First off, the orphans were moved to Mr. Poe (their father’s banker)’s home where they had to share a room with his obnoxious children, in their smelly room and dressed in grotesque-coloured clothing purchased for them by Mrs. Poe. They hated living in Mr. Poe’s home but their next home was much worse. In Count Olaf’s home, they had cold porridge for breakfast everyday, did domestic chores everyday and got struck a time or two. All the while taking turns sleeping on the only narrow bed provided for them, avoiding Count Olaf’s very weird and very mean actor-friends and trying to thwart his plans to steal their fortune.

Throughout the book, the writer continuously warns the reader that this book is unpleasant and will not have a happy ending. He uses the perfect blend of humor and horror to make this a delicious meal for bookworms.

This is the 1st book of 13 in A Series of Unfortunate Events.

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: I really liked the fact that the book reads like the writer is telling the story directly to the reader. He frequently used the words, ‘I’ and ‘You’. In some places, he stops narrating, recounts a short story about himself and then continues. These little ‘asides’ make it very interesting, like reading a letter or listening to a friend tell a story, albeit a long one in this case. The characters were another highlight of this book, especially the greedy uncle, Count Olaf and his band of theater misfits: the enormous man who looked like neither a man nor a woman, the man with hooks for hands, the two women with so much white powder on their faces, they looked like ghosts, etc.

I also liked the fact that so many times, the writer immediately explained the meaning of new words without interrupting the reader’s flow.

DOWN: NONE!!!

RATING

4 stars

TRIVIA

  1. The Baudelaire children’s favourite pastimes. Violet loved inventing things, Klaus loved reading and Sunny loved biting
  2. There were lots of these in Count Olaf’s house. Paintings, drawings and carvings of The EYE
  3. What did Count Olaf’s his ankle and the Baudelaire orphans’ room have in common? The EYE
  4. ‘For children who read so much, you two are remarkably unintelligent.’ The sender and receivers of this statement? Maker: Count Olaf; Recipients: Violet and Klaus
  5. The most striking feature on Count Olaf’s face, one that is quite different from what most human beings have? He had only one long EYEbrow
  6. Klaus, you (hopefully) and I have this in common. We LOVE books

Read an excerpt from the book here: http://www.powells.com/biblio?show=HARDCOVER:USED:9780064407663:7.95&page=excerpt#page

Visit its website here: Borrowing a leaf from dear Mr. Snicket, I’d like to say that if reading stories about the miserable lives of the Baudelaire children is not your thing, then don’t visit http://www.lemonysnicket.com/books.html because you’ll definitely find more torturous tales THERE! J

More fun facts about this series here http://www.lemonysnicket.com/pdf/SUE_SummerReading.pdf

Next Book of the Week (20/May/2015 – 26/May/2015):

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID by JEFF KINNY

♦The book cover shown here is the edition from Harper Collins not Egmont .

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