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The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1) Audio, Cassette – Unabridged, March 27, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
British actor Tim Curry, whose reputation for playing dastardly villain types precedes him, is terrific in this adaptation of the intentionally over-the-top, slightly scary tale of the Baudelaire orphans. As narrator/author Snicket, Curry relates the sad saga with pity and enlightenment sparked by dashes of humor. When the Baudelaire children, Violet, Klaus and baby Sunny, learn that their parents have perished in a fire at the family mansion, the children's rocky course is set for misery and misadventure (enough to fill the projected 13 volumes of this clever book series). The executor of the Baudelaire parents' will and keeper of the family fortune, Mr. Poe, arranges for the orphans to live with a guardian, a creepy distant relative named Count Olaf. Nasty in more ways than one, Count Olaf mistreats the children, leading them to quickly discover that he only wants their money. After they unravel one of the count's more awful schemes, the children are eventually delivered from the situation, leading neatly into a sequel. Curry plays Olaf with an appropriately spooky whispering hiss and deserves extra kudos for his convincing portrayal of Poe's racking, sometimes phlegmy cough. As a bonus, the tape contains a hilarious interview between historian, critic and author Leonard S. Marcus and Daniel Handler (suspected to be the mysterious Lemony Snicket himself). An entertaining song called "Scream and Run Away," about Count Olaf, fittingly closes the proceedings. Ages 9-up.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
"Written with old-fashioned flair, this fast-paced book is not for the squeamish: the Baudelaire children are truly sympathetic characters who encounter a multitude of distressing situations. Those who enjoy a little poison in their porridge will find it wicked good fun." -Kirkus Reviews
Top customer reviews
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The Bad Beginning
by. Lemony Snicket
Rating: ***** (5 stars)
Book Length: 188 pages
Genre: Children, Children's Chapter, Middle School
It has been a while since I last read this book and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed returning to its pages. The most unique, intriguing, and frustrating aspect of the book is that the main character of the story could be argued to be the narrator. Everything is told through the voice of Lemony Snicket, which is actually the narrator and not the author's actual name. The style is not a typical style for most children's books and it is pulled off with success.
The writing style is amazing. You are pulled into the story, engage with all the characters, and before you know you have finished the tale. I almost went and immediately bought the next book. The only thing that stopped me was the huge pile of books I currently have to finish. It truly is no wonder that this series has obtained such success.
There is one aspect of the writing style that I found quite annoying. The narrator continually defined the words that he and the other characters were using. As the story progressed the other characters also begin defining the words that they were using. It was annoying because I am an adult reader who was well aware of what all these words meant. Yet, while I was quite engaged by the story the book was not written for me. It was written for middle school readers who are still increasing their vocabulary. The first time I encountered Snicket's unique way of defining words in a story I knew what he was doing. While I, as an adult reader, was slightly annoyed I was also kind of awed by his genius. He has this book that he doesn't want to dumb down for his readers, yet he also doesn't want to loose their interest as they encounter words they may not be familiar with. To decrease the frustration of reading by including the definitions into the quirky flow that already existed in the novel is nothing short of genius.
As reviewed on The Book Recluse Review.
I do have to admit some of the situations may be a little harsh for younger children and seeing as there are 13 books they might find it too long.
The Baudelaires Siblings. Violet, Klaus and Sunny live a happy live with their two parents in the Baudelaire Mansion, but one gloomy day their banker Mr.Poe informs them there has been a terrible fire that has taken their parents life. The Baudelaires now orphans move with their closest relative (in location not family bloodline) Count Olaf a wicked man with greedy intentions, getting the Baudelaire fortune.
Lemony Snickets mysterious ways and beautiful writing show in this book, as we take a plunge in the Baudelaires unfortunate live and the turmoil they go through living with Count Olaf.
Parents be aware that it does feature unfortunate events, as the title clearly states, but this parent feels that the children's never give up attitudes and constructive ways of dealing with their loss(es) is a good lesson which really cannot be conveyed without hardship and that this is a lesson best learned early and carefully when possible. I would prefer my kids understand from a fictional characters example that a good attitude and positive outlets for negative emotions are the best course of action before he/she experiences similar loss themselves so that my kids can better deal with the loss weather I am there to help or in the event that I'm not for whatever reason.
The way Mr. Snicket explains some higher level vocabulary and certain concepts such as dramatic irony(in book 2) is also a plus as is his tongue in cheek humor. He writes on a fifth grade level but, kinda like Spongebob, he puts some tidbits for adult brains in there too that you wont be embarrassed about when you child gets older and figures it out.
Most recent customer reviews
1: It had a steady pace. There was enough going on to pull you in and make you want to continue, but not so much to confuse...Read more