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Publisher's Summary

Like a car alarm, bagpipe music, or a doorbell ringing in the middle of the night, hearing this all-new audio edition of The Bad Beginning will only upset you. This unique multi-voice recording brings the first book in Lemony Snicket's alarming A Series of Unfortunate Events to such terrible life that no one should really have to experience it. Unless you have an ear for such ghastly details as a tragic fire, a nefarious villain, itchy clothing, and cold porridge for breakfast, all narrated in chilly detail by the distinguished, and disturbed, Tim Curry with a team of talented readers, you would be better off listening to something else.
Don't miss the rest of A Series of Unfortunate Events or Audible's exclusive interview with Lemony Snicket!
©1999 Lemony Snicket (P)2004 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Critic Reviews

Audie Award Finalist, Children's Titles for Ages 8+, 2005 Grammy Award Nominee, Best Spoken Word Album for Children, 2005 Book Sense Book of the Year Award Finalist, Children's Literature, 2001
"Tension-producing orchestral music, scene-setting sound effects, and most of all, Tim Curry's chocolate-voiced narration captivate the listener in this multicast production of the Lemony Snicket that started it all.... It's all good fun for listening children and their parents." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Lindsey
  • SuttonUnited Kingdom
  • 06-05-05

Brilliantly miserable

I had looked at this series in print, but it had not held my attention as an adult. I was surprised to find I really enjoyed this production of the book- a very high quality, witty, well thought out performance. All the sound effects were excellent, and alterations in the text made sure that the warnings not to listen/read to such gloomy material came across freshly as jokes.
Aimed at children who are just developing a sense of irony, can be painlessly enjoyed by an adult in the same car.

30 of 30 people found this review helpful

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good, but

everything was great, except the sound effects often drowned out the reader. the effects were much louder than the story.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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All the Noise

wonderfully read, awesome writing, but the background noise was unnecessary, mildly irritating, and at times made the reading hard to hear. A great performance but is go with the normal audiobook version if I had to choose again.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Books Will Save You

The Bad Beginning may be, as Lemony Snicket reveals, a miserable tale, but it is a joy to listen to. This full-cast production is of the highest caliber, filled with orchestral music and chilling sound effects. I loved Tim Curry (yes, Dr. Frank N. Furter) as the infamous villain Count Olaf, and was charmed by the witty Baudelaire siblings, who rely on books to help them avoid the Count's treachery.

37 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Wickedly funny -- not just kid stuff

I had toyed with the idea of picking up these books on occasion at various places. After I heard the interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air (on my 40th birthday no less), I had to give these a try. This not just kidstuff (although they are completely kid appropriate). These are so much FUN!!! My husband and I listen to them over and over and laugh our heads off. Misery loves company -- and I am hooked.

31 of 33 people found this review helpful

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  • Dan
  • United States
  • 05-19-11

Great start. Too bad about licensing..

I really loved this book. I decided to listen to it between bigger books as sort of a palette cleanser. Tim Curry is Lemony Snicket and a full cast reads the dialog. There are also nice sound effects and music so that it feels like a real radio play.

Unfortunately as I looked to get the other volumes, Audible has not licensed all of the Tim Curry/Full Cast versions of these books. It's disappointing to go from a full production complete with voice acting, sound effects and Tim Curry to Daniel Handler dryly reading his own novels.

So I will not be buying the rest of them until they can get all of the Tim Curry/Full Cast versions.

82 of 89 people found this review helpful

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Too noisy.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Not wasted, but I'd have preferred spending the time finding a different version.

What did you like best about this story?

The story itself. The characters are fantastical and unpredictable and delightful.

What three words best describe Tim Curry and Full Cast ’s performance?

Too much background.

Do you think The Bad Beginning, A Multi-Voice Recording needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Yes! Just... maybe edited slightly differently.

Any additional comments?

I love these books and I mean - it's Tim Curry! But all the noise in the background was REALLY off-putting.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Grew On Me
I listen to this book once before, with a regular reader. I gave it four stars. During the first hour of this reading I was thinking four stars, than like a lightning bolt it hit me, that I was really enjoying it. I think it was hard for me to accept this unusual angle at reaching kids. With all the goodie two shoe books (In which I am a big fan) out there, it is good to have another way to reach children. These books show that bad things, happen to good people, and it is not the fault of the kids. I think it should only be for older kids, though. The story itself is entertaining and I found myself wondering what was going to happen next. The book was not predictable, as most children books are. You may want to listen on your own first, before sharing it with your kids.

I loved the production and I hope they do some more of these.

84 of 99 people found this review helpful

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Tim Curry's narration is positively brilliant, and the production values of this recording are first rate. All the voices, music and sound effects makes this a tremendous experience!

27 of 32 people found this review helpful

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Do not like the sound effects

The sound effects are really distracting and annoying. Also, I am so far finding the story to really be just depressing and unenjoyable. Maybe I need to read the book for myself before finishing it on audible with my kids, but it's not what I was expecting and the sound effects make none of us want to keep listening.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • 10-29-05


What a great tale, I could not stop listening all the while hoping that something pleasant was going to happen to the three orphans!! A must hear!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful