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Bad Beginning, the (Series of Unfortunate Events (HarperCollins Audio)) [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Lemony Snicket , Tim Curry
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
RRP: £11.05
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Book Description

1 Jun 2007 Series of Unfortunate Events (HarperCollins Audio) (Book 1)

There is nothing to be found in the pages of A Series of Unfortunate Events but misery and despair. You still have time to choose another international best-seller to read. But if you must know what unpleasantries befall the charming and clever Baudelaire children read on...

In The Bad Beginning the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune and cold porridge for breakfast. Then again, why trouble yourself with the unfortunate resolutions?

With 5 million copies sold in the UK alone, one might consider Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events to make him one of the most successful children’s authors of the past decade. We, however, consider these miserable so-called adventure stories and the Hollywood film starring Jim Carrey that accompanied the books for children as nothing more than a dreadful mistake.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 3 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Children's Audio; abridged edition edition (1 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061365335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061365331
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 13.5 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 261,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lemony Snicket was born before you were and is likely to die before you as well. He was born in a small town where the inhabitants were suspicious and prone to riot. He grew up near the sea and currently lives beneath it. Until recently, he was living somewhere else.

Mr Snicket first received his education from public schools and private tutors, and then vice versa. Early in life, he learned to reupholster furniture, a skill that turned out to be far more important than anyone imagined. He has been hailed as a brilliant scholar, discredited as a brilliant fraud and mistaken for a much taller man on several occasions.
A studied expert in rhetorical analysis, Mr Snicket has spent the last several eras researching the travails of the Baudelaire orphans. During his spare time, he gathers evidence and is considered something of an expert by leading authorities. Recently, he had to give up his hobbies due to laws regarding musical performances in mountainous terrain.

Lemony Snicket published his first book in 1999 and has not had a good night's sleep since. Mr Snicket is the author of quite a few books, all dreadful, and has been falsely accused of many crimes, all falsely. Once the recipient of several distinguished rewards, he is now an escapee of several indistinguishable prisons. He is widely regarded as one of the most difficult children's authors to capture and imprison. There are thirteen books in the A Series of Unfortunate Events, which should be avoided at all costs.

To his horror and dismay, he has no wife or children, only enemies, associates, and the occasional loyal manservant. Lemony Snicket's extended family, if they were alive, would describe him as a distinguished scholar, an amateur connoisseur, and an outright gentleman. Unfortunately this description has been challenged of late, but Egmont Press continues to support his research and writing on the lives of the Baudelaire orphans. As he continues with his investigation, interest in the Baudelaire case has increased. So has his horror.

Until recently, he was presumed to be 'presumed dead'. Instead, this 'presumed' presumption wasn't disproved not to be incorrect. Most things written about him are not true, but this is. More miserable news about Mr Snicket and his dreadful books can be found at www.unfortunateevents.com.

Product Description


"Written with old-fashioned flair, this fast-paced book is not for the squeamish: the Baudelaire children are truly sympathetic characters who encounter a multitude of distressing situations. Those who enjoy a little poison in their porridge will find it wicked good fun." Kirkus Reviews

--This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.

From the Back Cover

Dear Customer,
I am sorry to tell you that this CD is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. One might say that they are magnets for misfortune.
On this recording alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune and cold porridge for breakfast.
It is my sad duty to record these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from ignoring this tape completely and choosing something happy instead, if you prefer that sort of thing.
With all due respect, Lemony Snicket

--This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is no fairy tale, but it is great anyway 31 May 2004
Even though this is a book targeted to kids by its publisher, I think that the author wrote it considering a much broader audience. I would say that as Rowling did with "Harry Potter", Snicket will captivate people of all ages. A word of warning though, the author clearly states that this is an unhappy story and that if you do not like this you should not try to read it. He is not joking! The story is sad and every time there is a glimpse of hope, it is quickly quenched.
The three Baudelaire siblings are the main characters in this unhappy story. Violet is a fourteen-year-old who loves to think constantly about possible inventions. Klaus is twelve, intelligent and enjoys reading all kinds of books. Sunny is the little infant that is going through a biting stage and will go at anything with her four teeth. Everything starts out wrong right from the beginning, when the Baudelaire siblings, now orphans, find out that their parents died in a fire. They have a huge fortune, but they will not have access to it until Violet reaches adulthood. In the meantime, Mr. Poe, the executioner of the estate will manage the funds and take care of finding a place for the orphans to live in.
Violet, Klaus and Sunny end up living with Count Olaf, in a house that is a disaster and has a weird feeling about it. Also, they quickly realize that the Count's only interest is in the money they have and in nothing else. The kids are forced to take care of the house chores and only find solace in their friendly neighbor, Justice Strauss. But any glimpse at happiness is quickly extinguished by new terrible events. We even get a second warning by the author halfway through the book: "...people who hate stories in which terrible things happen to small children should put this book down immediately".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly a fairy tale... 31 May 2007
By Matt Pucci VINE VOICE
The Lemony Snicket books are very popular among the boys in my Year 4 class, largely because they turn the predictable, good-characters-live-happily-ever-after, bad-character-gets-his-comeuppance type story on its head. This, the first in the series, starts as it means to go on as the three main characters - siblings Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire - lose their home and their parents in a big fire before being packed off to live with their closest relative, Count Olaf. But Count Olaf just happens to be a greedy, conniving and generally rather unpleasant character who tries every which way to get his hands on the children's inherited fortune.

The Lemony Snicket books are aimed at readers aged between 8 and 14; they are easy enough to read and - if you're prepared to heed the author's warning on the first page - enjoyable too, being, as they are, darkly comic and just the right side of "mildly disturbing".

Matt Pucci
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent beginning... 15 Oct 2001
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For those of us who are sick and tired of the cheery world of children's literature, complete with talking rabbits and other fluffy little creatures whose every problem is resolved to their complete and undeniably cheery satisfaction comes the very opposite. Lemony Snicket makes no pretensions where his books are concerned; each one of these magically morbid tales, of which this is the first, features deaths aplenty and more than a few situations which would have less realistic children's authors of yesteryear spinning in their grave. The whole thing is buoyed along on a bobbing tide of grim humour, and every book contains at least one moment of delicious realisation that the very worst you could possibly imagine is, yes... it's going to happen. The illustrations add a most macabre realism to the proceedings, and the three children's characters are not only depicted lavishly in glowing prose but also shine through in each meticulously detailed image. One can only hope the Baudelaire orphans never find happiness, for to do so would mean the end of a fine series of books.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is the first in a series of books which certainly succeed in entertaining the reader but I felt they become formulaic after a while. The constant misfortunes of the Baudelaire orphans somehow remain amusing without causing the reader to feel too sorry for them. Lemony Snicket writes with a crisp style and manages to weave jokes, interesting locations and an inexhaustable supply of disasters into a compact and attractive little book. The illustrations are lovely and a perfect marriage to the text. I recommend this series to reluctant readers of around 10+ who would find these books unchallenging, funny and possibly addictive.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic start to a series of funny books. 7 April 2002
By A Customer
This is a brilliant book with lots of laughs.The fact that Lemony Snicket has made `unfortunate events` humerous and that the children in the story never end up happy makes you want to read on. I also like the way Lemony Snicket speaks to you aswell as telling the story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too 14 Oct 2006
By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER
After already having seen the movie version of A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, I decided to invest in reading the books. Book one, THE BAD BEGINNING, only took me an hour to finish, and it was an enjoyable, if dark, read.

The Baudelaire children--Violet, Klaus, and Sunny--are left orphaned after a mysterious fire destroys their home and kills their parents. Taken into custody by Mr. Poe, the executor of their parents' estate, they learn that their parents' will states that they must be cared for by a relative. The closest relative, unbeknown to the children, is Count Olaf, an actor and the leader of a theatre troupe who lives in a dilapidated house on the other side of town.

Things, of course, only go from bad to worse after the children move into Count Olaf's home, which is strangely covered inside and out with drawings and representations of a strange looking eye. Count Olaf even has a tattoo of the same image on his ankle. As the Count hatches a scheme to gain control of the Baudelaire fortune, which the children are not privy to until Violet comes of age, the children are alternately scared of their new "parent" and determined to find a way out of their

dreadful situation.

I enjoyed this walk on the dark side, and plan on reading Book two in the series later today. That said, however, I think it depends on your child and his or her maturity as to whether this would be a good read for them or not. Although the reading material is suitable for around eight years old and up, the book is dark-natured, and might scare some children. If they've already seen the movie, they might be prepared for its darkness; if the movie depiction scared them, then hold off on the book for awhile.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius"
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The book was delivered to my family in Belgium on ...
The book was delivered to my family in Belgium on time and the child has got the materials for work in class.
Published 1 day ago by MCG
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good book
Published 12 days ago by karen pomfret
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Quick delivery and good price.
Published 1 month ago by Jolly
3.0 out of 5 stars My son wasn't too taken with this book. He ...
My son wasn't too taken with this book. He has started it but I don't think he's finished it. It is unremittingly grim and maybe that's just not his thing.
Published 1 month ago by appledumpling
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great series, pity the threads don't get tied up nicely in the last one but still worth a read.
Published 1 month ago by bushcraftrelf
5.0 out of 5 stars Descriptive and unfortunate
I like the way things are described- James- 11
I liked it but it was too sad to read another- Scott- 9

I liked the way big words were used and defined in a funny... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cebe Seren
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 1 month ago by Sarah-Davidson
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for Reluctant Young Readers
This book made an avid reader of my nine year-old son, who'd previously found reading 'boring'. I'm so grateful to the author for making reading enjoyable and exciting for him; you... Read more
Published 2 months ago by CaSundara
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by D A WAGSTAFF
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Children love them
Published 2 months ago by Dexigirl
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