A Series of Unfortunate Sonnets: The Bad Beginning

A Series of Unfortunate Events, I remember what it was like to first find and read these intriguing novels: When I was a kid (I was tiny), my siblings and I went to the book bus every Friday after school. The book bus (aka, the mobile library) visited our small town from two til’ four, although only the size of an average bus, had an amazing collection of titles, and was always very busy. We would walk across the road from school and settle into the cushions at the back of the bus, reading until Mum picked us up. We would then trudge through the door at home with our piles of books and collapse on the couch and read until dinner-time.

The best way to spend a Friday afternoon.

Anyway, I quickly realized that the best place to find all the best books at the book bus was the returns box, and I would often linger next to it, sorting through everything until I found a cover that caught my eye. And this is how I came upon Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. 

The books peaked my curiosity, and I quickly rushed through them one by one, until I had reached the tenth one, and had to wait for the last three to be written and published. Oh the agony of waiting.

These books were mysterious, melancholy, moving, and manic (at times)! Nothing like I had ever read before!

And now, upon my first true reread (I have not reread the entire series all in one go), I endeavour to write A Series of Unfortunate Sonnets: one sonnet written for each book. The sonnets will probably be rubbish (you could even say unfortunate), but nonetheless, it will be an experiment of my creativity. With thirteen chapters + a letter to the editor (explaining how to get the manuscript for each book), within thirteen books + follow up, a fourteen lined sonnet seems like the fitting form to adopt.

The Bad Beginning

Tis’ a tale of three unfortunate souls
Who realize too young that life’s just not fair.
Their home and parents were reduced to coals
Now orphans, named for poet Baudelaire.

Violet – inventor, hair in a ribbon
Young Klaus is the bookworm, glasses and all
And Sunny the baby, it is written
Loves to cook and bite, for she’s rather small.

A man named Count Olaf is the villain
With a crooked house and a tattooed eye
Plans to steal the fortune of the children
By wedding hapless fourteen year old Vi.

They do escape, for now, but as you know
This small triumph will turn into fresh woe.


3 thoughts on “A Series of Unfortunate Sonnets: The Bad Beginning

  1. this is such a fun idea! ever since there’s been so much hype for the upcoming Netflix series, i’ve been thinking about rereading this series as well. it’s been years since i have, and you have inspired me to pick these up from the library (when i finally renew my library card)!


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