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Member Name: Hoggle-DR1749
The Bad Beginning (Series of Unfortunate Events) - Lemony Snicket
Date: 22/02/13, updated on 06/03/13 (11 review reads)
Advantages: Interesting play on narrative and combination of different plot types, suitable for all audiences
Disadvantages: The series itself starts slowly
Lemony Snicket is a lot like marmite, you either love his writing style or you hate it. I'm a big fan of marmite and so i bet you can guess what i think of Lemony Snicket.
The Bad Beginning is the first in a series of 13 books about the Baudelaire children, Violet, the inventor, Klaus, the reader, and Sunny, the biter. We get taken on a rites of passage adventure with mystery, overcoming the monster, tragedy and comedy plot lines thrown in throughout the series.
Snicket writes with a narrative that is unlike traditional author/reader relations. Most authors prefer to either take the omniscient third person approach, or the unreliable first person approach, and very rarely (though i've only seen two authors do this successfully) you can get a second person narrative. Snicket is one of the only writer's i've seen so far who combines all three narrative approaches and has it actually work. This is why he's like marmite, for he breaks the traditional author/reader relations in a very extreme way.
The story of the Baudelaires (obviously) starts with the Bad Beginning. Unfortunately this particular book is mostly an introduction to Snicket's incredible narrative and an introduction to the main protagonists. Personally i'd venture to say that the real adventure starts in the fourth book (The Miserable Mill) but it's worth reading the first three to get a grasp on the various backgrounds of both the narrators and the characters, in particular the main villain, Count Olaf, who will do anything to get the Baudelaire fortune, though even after reading the entire series you're never entirely sure why he's so intent on getting this one fortune, we're left still asking questions even after 'The End' (book 13) which, to me, is very good writing.
All in all A Series of Unfortunate Events is an insight into the lives of the three Baudelaire children as they move from place to place after their parents die, where they meet a lot of friends and enemy's and are put through many trials due to the efforts of Count Olaf trying to get their fortune. The series itself starts off slow but picks up dramatically as you go on. It is written in a very interesting narrative that very few writers could pull off successfully, and like the Phantom Tollbooth has fun with language throughout. Well worth a read.
Summary: Well worth a read, if not for the story then for the writing style.
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