Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket | Book Review

A Series of Unfortunate Events #1
First Published: 1999
Kindle
Middle Grade, Adventure
Rating:
Dear Reader,
I'm sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.
In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.
It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.
With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket
This book has been on my tbr for ages. Unfortunately, this is a series that never made it to the tiny country of Israel, so I had never heard of it prior to my arrival on the internet book community in 2012. And being of a somewhat older audience than this book normally carters to, it took another two years for me to hear of it.

In all honesty, it's probably that Netflix series that truly made me interested, and that fake(?) trailer which just looked fantastically creepy. Hence, when it was on sale on amazon, I decided to give this series a shot.

Let's start by saying that this is a book I'd give my younger bookworm niece to read in a heartbeat. I can definitely understand why it captured so many hearts and minds. Why it's so well loved.

But at the same time, I also feel like I probably missed the train with this one. Because yes, it felt young to me. I don't like using this sentence, but it's the truth so what can I do.

Firstly, I was a bit taken aback by the tendency Lemony has to explain the "complicated" words he's using, much like a teacher and less like a narrator.This is something that would merit younger children the ages of the characters, as their vocabulary is bound to expend reading words like rickety and standoffish and having something fun to connect them to.

Then, there was the actual plot. Count Olaf (let them go! let them go! can't stay in that house anymore...) is an exaggerated accumulation of every stereotype imaginable that has to do with evil men... every awful thing Count Olaf can be, he is.

It was simply too much. Count Olaf can be an evil man and still keep his apartment and himself clean. He can be a bad man without drinking none stop and having empty wine bottles everywhere. He can be a bad man without having just one bed for three children. Treating them like servants, threatening them, going after their inheritance, etc... that's enough

Violet, Klaus and Sunny (okay, maybe not Sunny) were less of one-note characters, but they didn't jump out of the pages to me. I didn't feel them.

And than, what is the point in making your young children smart if you're going to go and have Klaus do that? For some reason, this aggravated me beyond belief. It's like, I wanted Lemony to give Klaus more credit than that.

Will this be a great read for my younger brother? again, yes.

Will I recommend my mother give it a shot? No. Because it'll be nothing more than cute to her.
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