All member reviews for The Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1

Common Sense Media says

A cliff-hanging adventure wrapped in black humor.
 

Users say

(out of 62 reviews)
age 9+
 
Review this title!
Kid, 11 years old August 26, 2010
age 8+
 

This is Amazing!

This series is amazing!!! I love all the books and I've read all of them too! Once you start reading one of these books you can't stop. All of my friends have read this series and they have all come to me and have said that they loved it. I recommend this book!
Kid, 10 years old November 6, 2009
age 10+
 

Something a little Weird

I dont like the book that much because it doesnt have a good beginning. Its not well thought out. Especially for the orphans. I cant believe the author would make such a sad book. Nah,if you are going to read it Dont!
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byarthur16morgana January 14, 2011
age 10+
 

good book

love the series. a series everyone can read. read all the book in 6th grade. i didnt find the books nor the movie to be scary or even extremely violent
What other families should know
Great role models
Written byAnonymous August 12, 2011
age 7+
 

Excellent and engaging.

The Bad Beginning is the start to arguably one of the best book series in recent memory. Kids often find reading boring, but it is difficult to critique this book given the lack of boring parts. They will be interested, but adults will probably also enjoy and will understand it better. The Bad Beginning is about Count Olaf, a very evil man, and three children, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire. The three siblings have recently experienced a house fire that caused both their parents to die. The three are the inheritors of a large fortune from their parents but are not old enough to get it. As a result, they must live with their "cousin" Count Olaf, who intends to get that fortune all to himself and uses a plethora of evil plans to do so. Despite seeming childish, this book is fairly realistic. The characters act realistically and the situations are very well described and seem like they could happen to an unfortunate group of siblings. Throughout the series, for the most part anyway, the three siblings are excellent role models for the children and send good messages, even though Olaf sends his share of bad ones. All the books in the series are incredible and they have humor scattered throughout them as well, although not all the kids will understand it. The books are a must buy as they are not boring yet make sense and are a lot of fun to read.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Kid, 10 years old November 14, 2012
age 10+
 

Best Book Ever!!!!!

This is the best book i have ever read!!! It talks about how kids can be smart enough to slip through other peoples words if they (the other people) are not specific enough. It also has a lot of action and a little bit of violence (I am a kid so that's why i like violence, but still). I would read it again and again, but i was borrowing it from a friend so I can't.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Parent of a 9 year old Written byrachel4missions January 16, 2011
age 8+
 
As an adult, it's a little underwhelming. I preferred the movie a lot more. The books are for a much younger audience, and so each one is very short and contains a lot of explanations of vocabulary. Back in my day (when we walked 10 miles barefoot in the snow to school, uphill both ways, doncha know!) we didn't have a bunch of vocabulary explanations, and we either figured out the word from the context or we used our children's dictionary to look it up. Older readers will probably roll their eyes at the brevity and explanations in the book. However, this would be a great book for someone who is a pretty decent reader but is low on vocabulary. I haven't reached this part in the book series yet, but in the movie the "moral of the story" is that no matter how bad things get, the good things are still there and even better for the bad times. That was very comforting to me in a dark time, cheesily enough.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Kid, 9 years old July 30, 2010
age 8+
 

Very Mysterious

Sunny, Klaus, and Violet Baudelaire are very intelligent children. The thing that weirds me out, though, is Count Olaf's plan to marry Violet. Does anyone realize HOW weird that sounds? A-W-K-W-A-R-D…But it is a very good book.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Adult Written byCrazy Chel April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

I was almost too depressed to finish.

While the creative and descriptive language would help any youth expand their vocab, sometimes it was a bit too much. The constant sence of tragedy, sadness and fear was a bit overwhelming too. My husband loved this book, but having seen some frightening things myself growing up I could not recomend this to any child under 12. A full comprehension of reality and imaginary is needed.
Parent of a 8 year old Written bywaterlilies September 22, 2010
age 9+
 

Darkly Humorous, not for the little ones

We're up to the third book now, but I thought I'd post for those considering starting the series. I have a real affection for these books, as well as some concerns. Count Olaf is a truly awful villain, with a habit of murdering each of the orphans' caretakers. Most adults, including their guardian at the bank, Mr. Poe, are kindhearted but ineffectual and emotionally unavailable; the kids are often left to their own devices to save themselves. However, the kids are well-mannered, generous and ingenuitive. They manage to keep their inherent goodness, and stick together, despite exposure to situations that are not innocent. Oh, and there are lots of good vocabulary words with situational definitions. My 8-year-old and I are really enjoying this series, but I wish we'd waited to start it until she was a bit older, like 9 or 10.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 15 years old Written bypoetry*free*08 April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

This was sad, funny, adorable

Adult Written bybronlib April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

Refreshingly different, but caution for younger listeners

My two children (6 and 8) and myself all enjoyed this book although they did get a little concerned when chapters ended on a particularly precarious note. Questions were raised about what would happen if they became orphans, and who they could turn to for help should they need it. The style of writing was refreshing, and my 8 year old enjoyed repeating interesting words she hadn't come across before.
Kid, 10 years old May 21, 2012
age 9+
 

Very Good Book

This is a very amaziing book... even though the author and the publishers promote it as sad and full despair. There are good lessons to learn , and there are simplified defenitions that the autho can explains , plus the difference betwen "literally" and "figuratively". But there is some mature contnet, such as an adult plannng to marry a child. There is also a time a charater mentions of a group of actors performing Macbeth naked. In the middle, a group of adults drink wine until they're absolutely full of wine. There is also not graphic kidnapping. Actually, none of it is graphic. I like the very mysterious plot. Very good book!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written bykirsten101 32 February 12, 2012
age 8+
 

whoa

these are my fave book it tells you if you have lemeons make lemeonade but its bad because olaf tries to marry violt olaf drinks wine a boy gets smacked a baby gets put in a tower a girl gets a bloody arm a poilce arrest parents die in fire but it tells you to never give up
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written bysillycomb March 22, 2011
age 9+
 

best for intermediate school and up

I read this book when I was about 10. The Baudelaires loss was sad. It was a great book anyway. You can look at my reviews in all thirteen books.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old January 9, 2011
age 9+
 

Iffy for 9+

My dad bought me this series (the first three books) when I was 7 though I didn't read them until I was 10. The uncle is horrible and you'll hate him from the very beginning. The kids you will love though! Because they're very smart and seem almost real! The series is really long but not like it's dragging on and on....it's interesting throughout.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 11 years old August 26, 2010
age 7+
 

This is amazing!

This series is amazing!!! I love all the books and I've read all of them too! Once you start reading one of these books you can't stop. All of my friends have read this series and they have all come to me and have said that they loved it. I recommend this book!
Teen, 16 years old Written byacarter72 April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

very very dumb

dont waste your time. Why would anyone want to read something so pathetic and negative??
Teen, 15 years old Written bygymnastixbabe April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

The Lemony Snicket series is amazing!

If you enjoy reading about devastating fires that destroy homes and parents, evil relatives, plots to steal fortunes, plays about marriage, itchy clothing, and cold porridge for breakfast, then this book is for you. This is the kind of humor all throughout the book series that Lemony Snicket uses. He writes in a fashion to discourage readers, but these are very good books. If you've read the back of the first book and put it down and didn't think about it for a few months (as I did), then you should reconsider. To me, at first, the book seem uninteresting and depressing, but once I started it, I was hooked. I couldn't stop reading the series. I very anxiously awaited The Slippery Slope, and when I got it for Christmas when it came out, I was estatic and read the whole book that day. I then anxiously awaited The Grim Grotto and bought it at a book fair at my school. Something similar to that happened for The Penultimate Peril, and I am a little saddened by The End of the series, but waiting for The End is unbearable! I hope Count Olaf, the evil villain that you grow to hate from the beginning of Book the First, is put to an untimely demise, a phrase which here means, dies a very unpleasant death.
Adult Written byBrij1234 March 1, 2015
age 7+
 
What other families should know
Great role models
Teen, 17 years old Written byTortugirl February 12, 2015
age 8+
 

Was important for me in my early years of reading

I was always an advanced reader, but I had a lot of trouble finding books I enjoyed. In second grade my teacher suggested this series to me, and I have always seen it as a turning point in my reading experience. I loved the dark humor, elevated vocabulary, quirky characters, and how different the plot was from anything else I had ever read. And it didn't turn me into a gothic, depressed child, I promise ;). I've always been thankful that for this series because it helped me discover a new genre and a wider world of books.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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