Retro Friday: The Bad Beginning Lemony Snicket Audiobook Review

Retro Friday: The Bad Beginning Lemony Snicket Audiobook ReviewA Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
Narrator: Tim Curry
Length: 2 Hours 31 Minutes
Series: A Series Of Unfortunate Events #1
Published by Harper Collins on August 25, 1999
Genres: Young Adult, Family, Orphans & Foster Homes, Siblings, Humorous Stories
Pages: 176
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon

Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent children. They are charming, and resourceful, and have pleasant facial features. Unfortunately, they are exceptionally unlucky.

In the first two books alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, a lumpy bed, a deadly serpent, a large brass reading lamp, a long knife, and a terrible odour.

In the tradition of great storytellers, from Dickens to Dahl, comes an exquisitely dark comedy that is both literary and irreverent, hilarious and deftly crafted. Never before has a tale of three likeable and unfortunate children been quite so enchanting, or quite so uproariously unhappy.

Ages 10+

Retro Friday Book Reviews are hosted by Angieville. Basically you review an older or under the radar title on Fridays. This Friday, I’m reviewing A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket Audiobook.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure IS SO TRUE. Omfg you guys, as you may recall, I completely LOVED A Tale Dark And Grimm by Adam Gidwitz. A few people who did not like it mentioned being turned off by the narration technique which is supposedly very similar to A Series Of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. Friends, as SOON as I heard that I promptly put a hold on the first audiobook in the series – The Bad Beginning. I was NOT disappointed.

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket opens with a warning: If you are expecting a pleasant tale, read another book. The three Baudelaire children Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are at the beach when they discover their parents have perished in a house fire. Mr Poe, a banker, sends the children to live with their distant uncle, Count Olaf, based on the will which stipulates that the children must live with a blood relative. Count Olaf, FYI, is a giant douche. He uses the kids as slaves and tries to steal their considerable fortune.

Oh, friends, how I LOVED The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket. It will appeal to a certain type of reader, mainly children, and people who are probably going to hell. For example, I dislike small children, so I wasn’t overly upset whenever something bad would happen to the orphans. I also love disruptive narrators. The third person technique is awesome here. The narrator keeps interrupting to warn the reader as well as to define words. You see, he defines words as a way of making fun of patronizing children’s books. I definitely laughed out loud.

If you are going to read A Series Of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket for the first time, like me, I will HIGHLY recommend the audiobook version. The audiobook is only 3 hours and it is read by TIM FREAKIN’ CURRY who is a super star. Seriously, this audiobook was amazing. Curry does different voices and accents. One character, Mr. Poe, is phlegmy and Curry coughs as he reads Mr. Poe’s bits. Curry also does a perfect evil voice as Count Olaf. Friends, if you don’t know what to listen to after a Jim Dale audio – A Series Of Unfortunate Events is a great option. The audiobook is produced by Listening Library

Disclosure: Borrowed from my public library.

Other Reviews of The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket:

Reading With Tequila
Kay’s Bookshelf

Purchase or Preview The Bad Beginning:

The following two tabs change content below.
April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Lol!!

    I actually think that this is one book series that I would have preferred to have listened to on audio the first time. That’s actually a really good idea… And, umm… Tim Curry. I LOVE HIM! He would have the perfect voice for books like this! Hmm… I think my library has them… Maybe I’ll have to go check that out! 🙂

  2. Your post has just reminded me… we were given the Lemony Snicket movie as a gift years ago.. I can’t even remember when… still haven’t watched it.

    I don’t know if I’m the kind of reader who would like this.. but perhaps I am.. I love a little child.. MINE… (most of the time when she isn’t sassing me) but other peoples children, unless they are close friends.. I can’t stand them. They are all misbehaving little runny nosed brats who I swear are out to infect my daughter with their germs. Using them as slaves would be a great idea. lol

    • I actually really want to see the movie. I’ve read good reviews of it on IMDB.

      AND GOOD TO KNOW that when I have kids I will love them and won’t have to like other people’s kids. So so good to know that hahaha.

      • ha ha! yes, it’s very acceptable to hate other peoples kids.. and don’t let anyone ever tell you they feel differently.. because they are probably lying. lol

        If you want to borrow the movie, let me know, I am pretty sure I still have it collecting dust somewhere. 🙂

  3. fun! i love the lemony snicket books, but i actually have read the printed versions. i haven’t done the audiobooks but i freakin love tim curry. maybe i should go grab it from the library TODAY. seriously, i’m thinking about it.

    sometimes it is SO MUCH FUN to read something so dark and count olaf is just dark as hell.

    in reference to ashley’s comment above: i think you probably would have loved it just fine if you’d have read the printed version. it’s a short read, a great one for a readathon perhaps, but i can definitely see where the audio would pump it up.

    also, i’ve never read A Tale Dark and Grimm. hmm. i was charmed completely (read: i read with a smile & laughed out loud.) by The Bad Beginning so maybe i’d like it.

    • YES. To it being fun to read dark books. And that Count Olaf is a sketch ball. Seriously.

      Also, I love readathon books.

      AND OKAY seriously the Tim Curry narration took this book and turned it to 11.

      And I think you would really like A Tale Dark and Grimm!

  4. I read this awhile back… a little before the movie came out, and I absolutely loved it. I’m kind of disappointed with myself that I was never able to finish the series, I started reading a bunch of other books! I think I’m going to have to make a trip to the library! Thanks for bringing back some great memories!


    • I feel like that a lot too — I mean I get disappointed with myself when I don’t finish a series. The completionist within me says – HEY SELF – why do you ignore the next books in this series in favor of other things.

      Also holla for the library!

  5. I LOVE audio and I am always looking for suggestions – thanks for this!

  6. I agree with you 100% (the part about Tim Curry that is). We just took a road trip to Florida for school break and borrowed The Bad Beginning from the library for the ride. The book was so much fun that we bought #2 and #3 for the ride home. Tim Curry was truly amazing. Volumes #3-5 are narrated by Lemony Snickett himself. He did a good job but Count Olaf was just not the same. We now have plans to listen to the entire series and will have to get through two more volumes to get back to Tim Curry narrating. The series is worth listening to just to hear him. What a talent!

    • Hi Wendy! Thanks for commenting.

      That’s really cool that you bought the books for the ride home. Also, I love Tim Curry as a narrator, so it makes me sad that Lemony Snicket narrates the next 3 volumes instead. I mean, I’m sure he is wonderful, but Tim Curry rocks.

      And dubs true on him being a talent!


  1. […] This genius carries over into audiobook narration as I can prove with Curry’s narration of The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket. Also, it’s only 3 hours long, so not exactly a HUGE commitment.2. Amy And Roger’s Epic […]