The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket: A-

From the back cover:
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

There’s a lot of charm in this little book, and the few flaws I can find with it (evil-plan-proclaiming villain, obvious plot points…) probably are largely because I am not its intended audience. I liked the characterization of the two elder Baudelaire children quite a lot, especially that they are sensible thinkers.

Much has been mentioned about the style of writing in these books. I vacillate between appreciating the use and defining of possibly unfamiliar vocabulary for children and finding these interruptions irritating for getting in the way of the narrative. I do wonder if kids will have slightly incorrect ideas of what these words mean, in the way they are explained as regarding the action of the plot.

I have managed to remain completely unspoiled about this series, so I have no idea what to expect as I proceed. I shall confine my hopes to a villain with a little more depth.

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