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 66 reviews)
age 9+
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Kid, 11 years old August 26, 2010

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, 15 years old Written byarthur16morgana January 14, 2011

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
Kid, 10 years old November 6, 2009

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 bykirsten101 32 February 12, 2012

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

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
Parent of a 8 year old Written bywaterlilies September 22, 2010

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, 17 years old Written byTortugirl February 12, 2015

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
Kid, 10 years old May 21, 2012

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, 16 years old Written byacarter72 April 9, 2008

very very dumb

dont waste your time. Why would anyone want to read something so pathetic and negative??
Kid, 11 years old February 18, 2011

kids 10 and up

count olaf drinks wine and acts drunk in front of the kids
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 9 years old July 30, 2010

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
Parent of a 9 year old Written byrachel4missions January 16, 2011
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
Adult Written byCrazy Chel April 9, 2008

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.
Teen, 15 years old Written bypoetry*free*08 April 9, 2008

This was sad, funny, adorable

Kid, 10 years old November 14, 2012

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
Kid, 12 years old January 9, 2011

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
Adult Written bybronlib April 9, 2008

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.
Teen, 13 years old Written byDojopink May 27, 2016

I DARE YOU TO READ THIS

I think this is amazing, very detailed with lots of vocabulary and Has a great amount of illustrations by Brett helquist. Lemony snicket aka Daniel handler IS AMAZING AT WRITING, ONCE YOU READ THIS YOU WOULD WANT A MILLION OR INFINATE OF THESE BOOKS! It starts of with the Baudelaire children at briny beach when mr. Poe come in and says that "unfortunate news, your mansion was burnt down and your parents perished in it" so the Baudelaire children became the Baudelaire orphans! Not a great beginning right? Well they went to mr poses home to stay and Poe said "if you kids need any help you can always call me" and the kids did not like the Poe residence so they went to their unknown uncle Count Olaf, Count Olaf is a treacherous villain who is up to no good and is greedy for money and drinks wine and tried killing the orphans for the Baudelaire fortune that mr Poe is taking care of! So the baudelaired had to do chores every day but now time has come, sunny stuck in a cage, klaus struck across his face, violet forced to being married and.. MORE! You read this book and I promise you will love the dark humour and evil and the kids sneaking out of every evil scheme by count Olaf and his troupe, a bald man, two white faced women, a man that looks neither man nor woman, a hook handed man and a tall and skinny guy, all drinking wine and working for Olaf, in the future more evil people will come in his troupe! READ THIS, YOU MUST
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 8 years old May 18, 2014

amazing!

you should read it.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byScreennameGirl September 10, 2011

For Mystery Lovers

The book is a bit violent for some, but not too much. For example, parents die, an uncle slaps a boy, ect. I loved the mystery in this series. It's not a crime mystery, like some might think. So if you lf you love a good mystery, this is the book for you. You might like this book if you enjoy Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and other mystery books.
What other families should know
Too much violence

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