#ASeriesofUnfortunateEvents: Unfortunate is an understatement.

The Bad Beginning
The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

 

My 10-year-old checked this out from his school library because the Netflix series looks like fun. He got to chapter 5 and gave up. There is nothing fun about this book.

In his words: “It was so sad it made me want to cry!”

Naturally, I had to give it a go. Isn’t this a series folks love?

I read it. It made me want to cry, too.

Can anyone explain why this series is popular?

Perfectly happy and kind children have their parents die. They receive no love, support, or kindness. They are forced to live in the care of the creepy Count Olaf, an abusive distant relative who beats them and treats them like slaves. He threatens the 12-year-old and 14-year-old by putting their baby sister in a cage and tells them he’ll throw her off a tower if the 14-year-old girl doesn’t agree to marry him so he can gain access to the fortune left for them by their dead parents. He even talks about taking her home on their “wedding night.”

Gross. And sad.

I get that in the next book Olaf shows up again, only this time disguised as some other obscure relative. I can only imagine how each of the THIRTEEN BOOKS in the series stick to a similar formula. Is there a happy ending at the end of book THIRTEEN?

Don’t know. Don’t care.

Not interested.

Happy Reading (of something else.)

12 comments

  1. daleydowning

    There is a happy ending, but it does take the whole series. And I couldn’t make it through each of the books – I had to wait for the movie. And the only reason I watched the movie was because my son was. There’s a lot of dark humor, and the kids are exceedingly clever, so you can definitely cheer them on through all the horribleness. But for me it was just too much to wade through, as well. Totally understand that there need to be more redeeming features to a book (especially a series), particularly when it’s targeting kids.

    This is the exact reason I hated the “classics” Pollyanna and Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. I understood that the authors wanted to portray triumph over adversity, as well as very real social issues of their day; but for me, as a child, I really wanted to read about happiness and people being nice to each other. And since that’s what most kids want, it makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sam Sattler

    I’ve not read the books and have only watched the first episode of the Netflix series based on them, so I don’t really have much to go on here but my first impressions. I would rate the first episode maybe a three out of five stars, mainly because some of the almost hidden humor is pretty clever at times. I’m doubting that I will finish the series, however, because what I saw in episode one is not something I would want to see over and over again – and the title tells me that’s what I should expect.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. theorangutanlibrarian

    haha it’s better to read when you’re eight or nine- I liked the first one then, but grew out of them by the time the last ten had come out. But yeah, I get what you mean about them being weird. Children are resilient though. It’s strange to think about but I used to love things like Goosebumps but won’t touch anything scary or resembling now! (incidentally those are also really bad books- can’t say much for my taste before I was 10 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

      • One Man Book Club

        Ha! Good, I’m glad!

        It’s interesting how tastes can change over time. Certainly, perspectives will change as life bounces us around on the road to adulthood. I probably shouldn’t be so hard on middle grade stuff, except that there are some really smart middle grade books out there. So when I come across one with content or quality issues, I have to sigh and roll my eyes. Kids out there! You can do so much better!

        If the young readers in my house enjoyed these stories, I’d probably be a bit more opening minded. But if they don’t like it, that kind of seals the deal for me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • theorangutanlibrarian

        Haha yes! That’s true! I just think that as a child even if you don’t like something so much you’re pretty much stuck with what’s put in front of you- to go back to goosebumps, I read every single one I came across, and enjoyed them, it was also one of the first books I made fun of (every single book said “a shiver ran down my spine” *cue scary stuff*)
        Yes that’s very fair! And a good way to measure it!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. nikihawkes

    I had the same opinion when I tried these years ago. I needed a tiny ray of hope that “unfortunate” things were worth trudging through but never found it. I gave up after books 2 or 3 (can’t even remember). The real unfortunate thing is that I’d already purchased the entire series based on how well they were selling. #fail

    Liked by 1 person

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