I have wanted to read the Lemony Snicket series since I first saw them on the shelf. I finally found volume one at a book sale last weekend for the measly cost of a whopping fifty cents. The Bad Beginning introduces us to the Beaudelaire children and the devious Count Olaf.
The Beaudelaire children consist of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny. To start the book, the children become orphans when their parents both perish in a house fire. The very sad children are shuffled off the Mr. Poe, who is the executor of the Beaudelair estate. Mr. Poe’s house isn’t as comfortable as their own home, but the children are about to learn the true meaning of uncomfortable. As directed by the Beaudelaire will, the children must be awarded to a relative. Mr. Poe chooses Count Olaf as the closest—geographically—living relative. It doesn’t take long to realize that Count Olaf is a heartless, greedy nut-job who only takes in the orphans to get his hands on their sizeable fortune. What ensues is a terribly sad story about the misery of three orphaned children, Olaf’s disgusting plot including a marriage, and the triumph of a very smart trio of children.
It’s obvious that I am a fan of young adult fiction. I love the vivid characters, the simple plots, and the creativity of youth authors. Lemony Snicket is no different. He has created larger than life characters and put them into unbelievable scenarios. He writes as an adult telling a story, using an adult vocabulary, rather than talking down to his young readers. Snicket writes as though he assumes his readers are intelligent which I find incredibly refreshing.
I’ve had a really difficult time reviewing this book, and I think it’s because I was neither thrilled nor disgusted. It was a quick read, the characters were enjoyable, but I already knew the story from having seen the movie. I imagine young folks would dive into the story with vigor. I imagine most adults would slip over the pages with some interest.