Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

I turned twenty this last week. This age seemed to sneak up on me and I feel in NO way prepared to be twenty years old. I still do a lot of the same things I did when I was younger. I still like a lot of the same books and a lot of the same TV shows that aren't exactly "age appropriate."

The other day as I was surfing Netflix, I discovered that one of my favorite TV shows from my childhood was available to watch instantly. I thought to myself, sure I want to watch Arthur all day long! I have now begun to watch Arthur almost every day, and I am only about 10% ashamed of watching it.

One of my favorite episodes is about the character Fern and her favorite author Persimmony Glitchet and his book series about Horrible Happenings. I loved this episode because when I was younger, I was obsessed with the Series of Unfortunate Events books. This episode of Arthur inspired me to start rereading this series of books. So I began in the only possible place, The Bad Beginning.

"If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle. This is because not very many happy things happened in the lives of the three Baudelaire youngsters."

As you will have noticed by now, I am in love with the first lines of books and this in no exception. I remember picking this book up when I was younger and being completely enthralled by the book after only the first few sentences simply because of how unconventional this book began. Snicket tells you up front that this is a book that you should simply put down the second you pick it up.

My favorite part of these books is the author's voice. The dark humor that Snicket uses is something that as an adult, I am now enjoying so much more than when I was a little girl. Although the book is slightly repetitive, it never gets boring because of how the author talks to you as a reader. The sense of mystery that begins with the dedication to Beatrice (darling, dearest, dead), continues to the last page, when the dastardly Count Olaf escapes from the first of his plans to acquire the Baudelaire fortune.

The best author's voice moment in this book, in my humble opinion, happens as Klaus stays up one night reading an incredibly boring law book. Snicket writes:

"The book was long, and difficult to read, and Klaus became more and more tired as the night wore on. Occasionally his eyes would close. He found himself reading the same sentence over and over. He found himself reading the same sentence over an over. He found himself reading the same sentence over and over."

Ok. So I was reading this at my local Barnes and Noble and I literally laughed out loud to the point of disturbing those around me. I read the second sentence and got so confused, starting back at the top of the paragraph. It took me about three tries until I figured out what was going on, and then my mocha shot out of my nose. Good day for me.

Also, Lemony Snicket always seems to have a gem of philosophy at least once in his books. They always stick out in my brain and even years later I can remember the phrases I like from almost all of his books.

"Unless you have been very, very lucky, you have undoubtedly experienced events in your life that have made you cry. So unless you have been very, very lucky, you know that a good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit."

I'm a fan of tears. I weep at everything ever. And I always feel that at least once every three months, I need a big old fashioned weep party where I don't move from my bed and cry for two hours. Even if nothing is wrong, I always feel more centered after a good cry, usually induced by reading The Book Thief. Now, I know that the above quote may seem a bit redundant as most people I know also enjoy a good cry but sometimes hearing obvious things like this is a good thing. They remind you that you aren't alone in feeling better after a fit of tears. And learning a universal truth brings you back together with the rest of humanity.

I love this book and I believe that no matter what your age is, everyone should be required to read this book because of how clever the writing is and how connected the story stays, even across 13 books. I'll be reading the rest of the series at some point, so look forward to more reviews!

Until next time, happy reading! Send me your book recommendations if you have them, I’d be happy to check them out and review them all! Leave any comments below! I’d love to hear them! 


  1. I love this review; I read the books in elementary school, now I want to again! Snicket is so witty and dark...I love it :)

  2. Get The Bad Beginning PDF Book From Here-