The Bad Beginning (A series of unfortunate Events #1) – Minus two bizarre stars 29

Because these characters are SO NOT NORMAL!

Huh? Bizarroland much?

Minus 2 stars!

About the book

The Bad Beginning (A series of unfortunate Events #1)

[Library book]

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 actually OWES me at least two stars!

I think this is the first negative [as in actually minus two sta] review I have ever written.

Is it me people?????? Or is the books???

Am I hallucinating or some middle grade books are just plain morbid?????

What is it with all this child abuse, bullying, loss and suffering and grief???

So…. I’m reading about these cute kids, they are having this awesome day at the beach and then out of nowhere… BAM! Tragedy strikes. And I’m like OUCH but… Well ok… Let’s get over it because, that’s life right?

But then….

Welcooooooome to bizarroland!

These kids go to ground zero, you know where this huge tragedy happened, and are they like sad? Maybe because they lost loved ones???? Nope… They are sad because… Wait… Let me recheck just in case…

Yup. They are sad because “his favorite pen had turned to ash”.

But you know… This book is super famous, everyone loves, there is a movie… So I’m like… let’s do like my beloved Dory

Let’s Keep Reading!

Soooooo, then these bizarre kids go to live with an even more bizarre guy that is just plain cold and cruel his soul drier than my kids cereal raisins. And then this cold soulless raisin kicks them out a few days later and they go live with a relative who…. Ready??? A relative who opens the door to greet them and says…

“Yes, I heard about the accident. I’m Justice Strauss”

No “Sorry for your loss kids” or not even a cold but polite “my condolences” Nope. Just…

“Yes, I heard about the accident. I’m Justice Strauss”

I know the blurb gave me a warning

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.

BUT this is just plain WEIRD! Weirdo kids, weirdo friend, weirdo relative, no one here behaves normally! The dialogues are so void of emotion that just plainly stilted. So I’m like…

Is this maybe a sci-fi book and this people are cyborgs???


Is this a horror book and these people are demons?

A physiological thriller and they are psychos?

So, I go and check again. Nope. It’s supposed to be a “regular” middle grade book.

Hummmm… So I’m like… Is it just bad writing??? The writer doesn’t know how to portray normal people with normal reactions???

So NOPE. NUH UH.  NO WAY JOSE. I DID NOT LIKE IT. AND I don’t recommend this book to anyone. AND I will not get this book for my Spawns, HUMPH!

You can see all my reactions here in the Goodreads summary…

What about you? have you read this series? Did you like it? What about the movie?

Thank you for visiting!


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29 thoughts on “The Bad Beginning (A series of unfortunate Events #1) – Minus two bizarre stars

  • Tamara Narayan

    I’ve been curious about these books, especially since the new TV? movie? version came out on Netflix. It does sound strange. Maybe things turn around later in the book? Unfortunate beginning though.

  • Barb (boxermommyreads)

    So I’m confused. This book is so well loved that you’ve kind of caught me off guard. Are we like really missing some hidden message here? It sure seems you were thorough enough. I admit I had thought about catching an episode on Netflix (but never considered the books) but I don’t even know about that now. Oh and by the way, if you want bizarre, watch the first episode of Santa Clarita Diet. I love Drew Barrymore and will give the series another chance but I felt like I was watching emotionless CP30 the entire episode. Or maybe an episode of The Twilight Zone. I like weird, but not sure about this much weird. And thanks for the book warning. I guess it’s called Unfortunate for a good reason.

    • Dragonfly

      oh wow Barb! I need to move out from under my rock!!! I didn’t even know about “Santa Clarita Diet”!!!! I’ll check it out. Maybe one day you can give this book a try and let me know if I’m a complete weirdo for feeling this way about it 😉

  • Kathryn Trask

    Hmm I never read these books but they were in the school library and they went out like hotcakes. Something in them attracted those young readers. However I think -“Not for me!”.

  • Prabhleen

    Your Goodreads reactions were hilarious. I have never wanted to read this book, and now I really don’t even want to. (did that sentence make sense? lol) Sorry you didn’t like it! great review 🙂 I just really can’t handle weird or bizarre characters, so this is definitely not my cup of tea.

  • Olivia

    I wonder if I would have liked these more when I was 10. I had quite a morbid sense of humour and I liked my stories dark so I think I would have loved reading about these poor, weird children and their adventures that only ever end in horror. As an adult they’re just sort of weird. I’m also hesitating about the Netflix series…

  • Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    I read the first three books in this series several years ago it it just was not for me. Every book was virtually the same. Terrible tragedy, suffering kids, horrible adults, a sliver of hope, and then nope – no happy ending just more terrible stuff. I don’t understand why this is such a popular MG series!

  • Bookworm Brandee

    My oldest read this series when she was in first grade and she liked the books alright…it was when her school took a field trip to see the movie she had issues. I love that you’re giving negative stars because honestly, I’m not a fan either. But some kiddos love it. :/

  • Amanda @ To Read or Not To Read?

    Not gonna lie, I adored these books when they came out. I haven’t re-read them in a while, but they were so weird and different and WEIRD, it was all part of the charm. I didn’t take them seriously at all, and I loved the style of the writing, with Snicket’s constant author intrusion and his educating everyone on obscure vocabulary. I learned so many words from this series. XD
    I remember toward the end of the series it started getting depressing for me because I got to the point I just wanted them to have a win and some answers, but they never do. I think, if Snicket had tied off the loose ends and answered the questions, I would have enjoyed the series as a whole more, but the way he wrote the entire thing foreshadowed a bittersweet ending of unanswered questions.

    • Dragonfly @ Our familiairum

      Thank you for this great comment Amanda! I remember reading about the “educating” in some reviews. Some people loved it, some found it annoying. I wouldn’t have minded. Same as the sad stories. I didn’t mind that. It just that the characters didn’t act normally. So glad you did enjoy them though 🙂

  • Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    Oh dear – NEGATIVE stars! Wow.

    I think some MG books are definitely harsh. I can actually remember reading some books when I WAS the target audience that were AWFUL in what happened in them and yet it didn’t affect me as much as it does now. Was it because my immature little brain didn’t have the experience it does now? I couldn’t comprehend the depth of feeling? I don’t know, but there’s definitely a shift in perspective as we grow older.

    Having said that, this one really does sound awful. I haven’t read it nor do I want to! I hope you have a lot better reads on your plate for the weekend!

  • Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    Whoa, you never give negative reviews! You must’ve REALLY hated this lol. I haven’t read these books, but I always got the feeling they’re meant to be bizarre and weird and not realistic? I think that’s why I never read them. They always just seemed weird and confusing. They also seem like the type of books that adults wouldn’t enjoy but kids might.

    • Dragonfly

      That’s right! Am I not a nice reviewer? hahahahaa but this BEYOND ME 🙂 I just seriously have never seen worse characterization in my life. So lifeless, one-dimensional and flat. They ALL talk the same!

  • Mareli Thalwitzer

    Wha ha ha – chuckle chuckle…! Your review was a great read! But now I am confused…. I actually have these books on my TBR shelf. Should I just chuck it now??? My reading goal for 2017 is to take control of my TBR list – so I might as well go and delete it and it’s one (or a few more) less to worry about!

    • Dragonfly

      It would be great if you read a few pages and lt me know if I’m totally crazy! I just think the characterization is the flattest I have ever seen! Let me know if you give it a try! Thanks! 🙂

  • Cee Arr

    These books *were* my childhood!!!!!! I used to save up my pocket money to buy the new book, and I think I’ve read all 13 more often than I’ve read the Harry Potter books.

    But then, I like the gothic-y, morbid kind of stuff; and my mother used to read me the original versions of fairy-tales (If Rapunzel’s prince doesn’t get blinded by thorns piercing his eyeballs, I find it a bit of a let down.) So, *shrugs* to each their own!

  • La La in the Library

    I bought this for my son from a Scholastic Book Fair flyer when he was in fifth grade, maybe? The paperback was either one of those 99¢ or $1.99 specials they always include. He started reading it and a couple of days later I asked him how he was liking it and he told me he only read a few chapters and didn’t like it. I thought it was strange because at that time he would devour just about any book. I wanted to see what made it such a flop with him, so I started reading. Were they climbing stairs somewhere in the beginning? Because that is all I remember about the book. Ha ha. I kept thinking get up the damn stairs, already, would ya! I didn’t read much of it either before I quit. I keep thinking I need to give it another try, but… maybe not. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂