Mark’s Letter-Essay #3: The Bad Beginning

Recently, I finished reading The Bad Beginning the first book in the series A Series Of Unfortunate Events a 142 page book by Daniel Handler also known as Lemony Snicket. He wrote the first book in this series in 1999. He is 47 years old. In 2012 this book won the 48th best children’s book and it was also adapted to the first two episodes of a television series adapted by Netflix. It was also created into a film in 2004 about the first 3 books in this series. I read this book because my friend and reading partner read the second book of this series and he said it was good so I decided that I should read the first one and see if it was any good. It turned out that the book was pretty good and I will probably read the next one and I suggest those who read this letter that you should read this series.


In the novel The Bad Beginning, it is about the three main characters the Baudelaire kids Violet, Klaus, and Sunny and they are trying to enjoy a walk on the beach when a guy walks up to them. He tells them that their house burned down and their parents died so he will now take care of their money and they will live with a guy named Count Olaf. They do not know who he is, but when they go to his house to live with him, he treats them badly and tries to steal their inheritance. If they don’t do as told they get treated badly or hit so they go to find Mr. Poe and see what he can do. The children try to plan for their escape to try to get new parents but nothing works, but then count Olaf has a play and it was about marriage and Violet thinks of something so she uses the microphone and announces something to the audience… You will have to read the book to find out what she says and how it affects them.


The resolution of the main character’s problem is very interesting and different from other books because it is a cliff hanger and the problem is sort of resolved but not as much as you expected. I would say the theme of this book is Greed. I think that because the definition of Greed is selfishness and desire to have money and power so Count Olaf wants the money and for the kids to do everything for him around the house and to give them nothing in return and so the kids wanted to have new parents. The main characters of this book are Violet, Klaus, and Sunny and I know that because they are the good characters and they are present throughout the whole book and they are always involved with the book. Mr.Poe is only involved in the book sometimes and Count Olaf is only a contagonist. It is also about the Baudelaire childrens adventures and events. If I were the author I would have put more background info or start the book having the parents because then when they died we would be more connected with them and have a better understanding of the relationship of the kids and their parents so we can know really how much it affected them and how their life was like before so we can understand really how bad they were treated or how differently they were treated at Count Olaf’s.   

“Klaus was in their bedroom reading throughout the night like he always used to do and he would sometimes would close his eyes and read the same sentence over and over because Count Olaf didn’t give him a flashlight. When he were to close his eyes he would picture Count Olaf’s associate tearing into his flesh and would always wake up at that point (p.80-81).”


Why I like that part a lot is because it really intensifies and shows how badly he treats them and how scared they are. It also shows another part of this author’s craft tone. It sets a very sad or scary tone to the book because that is coming from a main character and how he feels in the house and the difference between Count Olaf’s rules and their old parents rules.It is also not just the tearing into Klaus flesh it is the part where he has to use moonlight because Count Olaf would not even give him a flashlight. I rate this book a 8-10. I think you readers should try this book if you like mystery.


Mark M


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About rcjockers

I am a middle-school language arts teacher in Connecticut. I like eating hot peppers from my garden, writing, and watching German soccer matches in the dark.

3 thoughts on “Mark’s Letter-Essay #3: The Bad Beginning

  1. Dear Mark,

    Thanks for sharing your letter essay, which I thought was very well written. My favorite part was when you talked about what you would possibly change about the book if you were the author. You clearly explain how you think the parents should be more included in order to form a relationship with their kids, as well as the reader. I could not agree more! I find this very common in many books, some from the present too. You are not fully able to comprehend what the characters are feeling or why they may be doing or saying certain things. If they included the parents, we would feel more empathy for them. A very great job Mark.


    Peter Martinich

  2. Dear Mark,

    Thanks for sharing your essay with me. First of all, I think your piece came together really well. What I liked reading the most was about your chosen passage. It shows me that you really almost “connected” with a part of your book.

  3. Dear Mark,

    Your letter essay was greatly described and came together well. This book sound like a good book. I liked how you cited where you got this from and your quotes. Great job Mark!

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