March 09, 2005

The Bad Beginning, by Lemony Snicket

When I first read this some while back, I said that it was interesting but too short to be worth the nine dollars I'd paid for it. I got lots of e-mail over that, mostly saying something like, "Will, you just don't get it."

I still don't.

At bedtime just a couple of nights ago I finished reading this book to my two boys. And when I had read the last sentence, I closed the book with great relief and a feeling of liberation. I was done. I didn't have to to read it aloud anymore. For the first time I felt glad at how short it was.

To be frank, I can't think of a book I've read aloud that I disliked reading aloud more than this book. It's not that it's poorly written, or that the prose doesn't flow; there's just something about the atmosphere, and the arch little asides to the reader, and the unrelenting gloom that made for a thoroughly awful experience.

For what it's worth, James agreed with me, and we finished it only at David's request. After the first few days, I began every reading session with "I hate this book. You know that, don't you." And David would say, "Yes," and James would say, "So do I," and then we'd get on with it.

David's been put on notice that he can read the other books in the series if he likes, but if so he'll be reading them to himself. I'm out of it.

Posted by Will Duquette at March 9, 2005 03:28 PM

Craig Clarke said:

Stick with your intuitions, Will. It's just not that good. I read it a while ago, and didn't even think it worth reviewing. I'll probably not read any of the others. I'm just glad I got it for free.