‘The Bad Beginning’ an unfortunate start to a captivating series

Emily Merlin, Social Media Manager

This book series goes from bad, to worse, to ugly. This book is considered a children’s series, but it is such an unfortunate starting of a series. A Series of Unfortunate Events; The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket is the first book of 13 miserable ones. The book follows Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, three intelligent siblings who receive misfortune wherever they turn.

The first awful misfortune they received is news of their parent’s untimely deaths in a house fire. Luckily, the children were away at a beach at the time and did not perish in the fire. Once the children received this shocking news, their family friend, Mr. Poe, helps them to be in the care of a distant relative. Count Olaf. Count Olaf is described as “very tall and very thin […]. His face was unshaven, and rather than two eyebrows, like most human beings have, he had just the one long one. His eyes were very, very shiny, which made him look both hungry and angry.”

From the moment they met him, they knew there was something dreadful about him. His own house was a dilapidated building with soot and grime, and “sagged to the side, like a crooked tooth.” Count Olaf resembles his house in every sense of the word. Nasty, gross, and grimy. He was rude and distasteful to the children but only wanted to adopt them for one reason: their fortune.

See, the Baudelaires were incredibly rich from all of their scientific research, but since they died, their eldest child, Violet, inherited all of their money. Count Olaf’s first scheme to receive this fortune, and to receive it quickly, was to marry Violet. Violet was only 14 and in no way legal to marry unless her guardian gave her the okay to do so. Count Olaf is the guardian, yet he wants to marry her for her money. Are you starting to see the issues now?

The reason the children were forced to live with this awful man was that he was their closest living relative. They had no say in the matter because they were only children. Although Violet was 14 and incredibly intelligent, the adults around her treated her as a child. When the Baudelaire children tried to contact Mr. Poe, he refused to believe that Count Olaf was doing anything untoward.

If this book series sounds intriguing, but you are too lazy to read them, fear not! There is a series on Netflix by the same name. It is not identical to the book, but it does a good job of including the important details and information. Be warned; it will be unpleasant for yourself and the Baudelaire children.

Although I cannot tell you the ending of the book in lieu of spoilers, I will tell you that this is simply the beginning of a series of unfortunate events.