A series of unfortunate events-the bad beginning. By Lemony Snicket

This is the first of hopefully several book reviews for 2016 and many more years to come. I was watching a movie when my mother mentioned that it had been adapted from a book she had read. If asked to choose between a book and its movie adaptation, I’d most likely lean towards the book. That’s exactly what I did.

“If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. In this book,not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle. ”

This book on a series of unfortunate events, if you ask me, was written for an audience aged 9-11. It tells us what happened in the life of three siblings after the first of several unfortunate events-the death of their parents in a fire which razed their mansion. The Baudeclaire siblings- Violet(The eldest, aged fourteen), Klaus ( the middle child aged twelve) and Sunny( a baby with just a few words) had to go and live with a family friend and the executor of their parents will, Mr Poe.

Mr Poe in accordance with the will of the parents of the young ones(and also because of his up tightness), then located a distance relative of the Baudeclaires and sent the children to live with him. The relative , Count Olaf, turned out to be a mean, scary man who was only after the inheritance that had been left the children. Unfortunately for him, the inheritance would only come to the children once Violet, the eldest child was of age. He maltreated the children and saddled them with lots of household chores while he thought up a plan to get his hands on the fortune.

He eventually decided to outwit the law  in a scheme which he considered really clever. He got a judge to marry Violet off to him in what everybody assumed was only a staged theatre. Even though the children had caught onto the scheme it was very difficult to get anybody to believe them, as their earlier complaint to Mr Poe about their ill treatment had been ignored. Moreover Count Olaf had the last of the Baudeclaire siblings hanging from a tower ready to be dropped if they did not play along.

In the end Violet played along and said I do during the act making her officially the wife of Count Olaf and effectively passing on the inheritance to him. Count Olaf then announced to a shocked audience that this was more than a staged drama. It was only when Sunny was brought in on Count Olaf’s instructions that Violet announced the marriage as void since the law stated that she must sign the marriage certificate in her own hand and she had signed in her left hand instead. The judge agreed that that bit made the marriage void. Count Olaf, who had the entire plan detailed to the letter managed to run away with the rest of his cast. The judge who was also a neighbour to Count Olaf and a friend to the children offered to  adopt the children ( the only seemingly fortunate incident in a series of unfortunate incidents). However,the uptight Mr Poe, insisted on finding another relative in accordance with the will of the children’s parents. So off the children went in search of another distance relative they knew not.And thus, ended the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed the authors stance of being different and not towing the line of writing what necessarily will make readers of that age happy. Life isn’t always pleasant and without stealing the childhood and innocence of young ones away, we must find a way of impressing upon them that sometimes in life bad things happen. This way they might just be a little more prepared for the bad things that could happen during their childhood and even more importantly the bad and hard times that happen as they grow up. Totally shielding children, is so not the way.

I also like the way Snicket introduced and explained a number of new words seamlessly into the storyline. A really fun way to learn new words. Great book, Lemony Snicket. I have a feeling that there are sequels to the book, if there are and I do find them I will be back to update you. If not-another unfortunate event.




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