The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story and financial intrigue.A Sensational #1 Bestseller – Now a Major Motion Picture In Theaters March 2010.A spellbinding amalgam of murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue.It’s about the disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in S...

Title:The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Reviews

  • Sarita

    Hey, kids, if you like books in which the only major descriptive moments happen during sexual torture scenes, where major characters lack motive, and where the red herrings...stink ... this book's for you!

    I may feel less strongly after a few days, but I am having a hard time believing this book has hit the best-seller lists in multiple countries.

    **Rant containing Mild Spoilers**

    Here are my complaints:

    1. The entire book sets you up to think that the alleged killing/s were perpetrated by one or m

    Hey, kids, if you like books in which the only major descriptive moments happen during sexual torture scenes, where major characters lack motive, and where the red herrings...stink ... this book's for you!

    I may feel less strongly after a few days, but I am having a hard time believing this book has hit the best-seller lists in multiple countries.

    **Rant containing Mild Spoilers**

    Here are my complaints:

    1. The entire book sets you up to think that the alleged killing/s were perpetrated by one or more people for complicated reasons.

    Spoiler:

    They're not. A murderer, at the climax, reveals, "I like killing [people]." That's the motive. That's it.

    2. The title character has her macabre past detailed at length. The salient facts to the case - how did she come into possession of her detective-ing skills? - is left out entirely. Her emotional life is ignored until it's needed for a little plot development and then ignored again for a gazillion pages. She makes Kinsey Milhoney look like a guru of emotional awareness and self-knowledge.

    3. When a MAJOR DEVELOPMENT happens in the case, like, THE MAJOR DEVELOPMENT, we the readers hear about its resolution third hand. A reunion occurs and we are not privvy to it, even though it's REALLY IMPORTANT. That is LAME.

    4. Stop with the Mac commericials aleady. Is it possible that the well-financed campaign for this book had to do with the fact that the dead author couldn't object to selling Apple and Kawasaki shout-outs?

    5.The two plot lines are almost entirely unrelated. They don't even intersect, really; one segues into a second, and then, when the second is wrapped up entirely, the first plot returns to end with a whimper.

    6. There is a Lot of torture-porn in this book. Did I mention that? Detailed description of sexual abuse, incest, and general nastiness that does nothing to advance the plot. Really. It just takes up space making you think there are reasons for the murders, but ...no, see #1. We listened to this on cd and I kept trying to forward and ending up on the absolute worst moments. Blech.

    7. Several passages written as an email conversation. It's like the author realized at a certain point that he was so bad at dialogue that he'd better just give it a rest for a while and instead use stilted telegraph talking.

    8. This book was not fun or smart. I kept thinking it was about to be, but I was wrong.

    **End of Rant**

  • Kristy

    I HATED this book. I don't understand all of the good reviews that are coming in on it. I hated the characters, the plot was thin - ugh. I can't believe I read the whole thing.

  • Tatiana

    The original Swedish title of this book is "Men Who Hate Women." If you ask me, it suits this story much better than catchier but less relevant "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," because it is in fact about men doing all kinds of horrid things to women. So here is the first warning to you, if you don't handle violence against women and children well, skip this novel.

    It's hard to give a short synopsis of the book. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" starts off as an investigation of a 40-year old

    The original Swedish title of this book is "Men Who Hate Women." If you ask me, it suits this story much better than catchier but less relevant "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," because it is in fact about men doing all kinds of horrid things to women. So here is the first warning to you, if you don't handle violence against women and children well, skip this novel.

    It's hard to give a short synopsis of the book. "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" starts off as an investigation of a 40-year old disappearance of a teenage heiress, but gradually morphs into a tale of serial murder and corporate trickery spanning several continents and later takes in complicated international financial fraud and the buried evil past of a wealthy Swedish industrial family.

    I found this book extremely engaging and full of action and came to regret many times that I had an audio version instead of a regular paper book. I also enjoyed immensely the amount details about everything - the publishing business, twisted Swedish family, corporate crime, history and political order of Sweden, etc. I am guessing if you don't care to read about any of this subjects, this book is not for you, because it is packed with this information.

    My only qualm about this book, a small one, was the characterization. The character of Mikael Blomkvist smelled of a male wish fulfillment fantasy, the one where a man is adored by all women, gets laid all the time and always gets lauded for his stellar bedroom skills. Lisbeth Salander also felt a little shaky and I thought Asberger's decease didn't quite account for her strange personality. I thought her antisocial behavior was inconsistent.

    This however didn't spoil my reading experience. I am eager to move on to "The Girl Who Played with Fire" and see what Mikael and Lisbeth are up to next.

  • Ivanna S.

    I really don't understand the critical orgasms over this book. Amazon pushed it on me for weeks, and the minute I stepped into Borders an employee ran over and recommended it. Thinking, this really better be the best book I've ever read, I took it up to the checkstand, where the register guy asked: "Did one of our employees recommend this?" Um, yeah. And Amazon, too. So of course I asked him why.

    "Oh," he replied, "we've been told to recommend it this week." That should have tipped me off right

    I really don't understand the critical orgasms over this book. Amazon pushed it on me for weeks, and the minute I stepped into Borders an employee ran over and recommended it. Thinking, this really better be the best book I've ever read, I took it up to the checkstand, where the register guy asked: "Did one of our employees recommend this?" Um, yeah. And Amazon, too. So of course I asked him why.

    "Oh," he replied, "we've been told to recommend it this week." That should have tipped me off right there: recommendations handed down by management. Pfft. I hesitate to suggest a conspiracy, but - did someone end up with too many of these in a warehouse in Duluth? Did Oprah make a bet with someone that she could pull strings and make the most boring book in the world a best seller?

    But I am suckered in by numerous good reviews and a fairly interesting book jacket description, so I buy it and take it with me on a trip camping with my family. Of course it totally sucks. I'm kicking myself because I feel like I really should have known. But the reviews - ALL the reviews - are absolutely positive from generally reliable sources, so I just DO. NOT. UNDERSTAND.

    Here's why I don't like it: I am about a third of the way into it, and literally hundreds of characters have been introduced. NOT ONE of them has done anything interesting, so I am finding it nearly impossible to keep them straight. I am the type that will be more or less satisfied reading the back of a cereal box, but this is BAD. I mean bad. The mystery is dull. The who done it is more like a who cares. The two primary characters are so far not very likable at all - in fact, the review descriptions are more interesting than the book descriptions of them. I'm betting part of the problem is the translation, presumably - but god, there is just some boring writing in here, too. "He went to the store. He bought milk. He was cold. He went home." - BOR-RING! I am not really exaggerating, either.

    Actual content:

    "He put on a pot of coffee and made himself two sandwiches. He had not eaten a proper meal all day, but he was strangely uninterested in food. he offered the cat a piece of sausage and some liverwurst. After drinking the coffee, he took the cigarettes out of his jacket pocket and opened the pack."

    Again, I'm willing to give the author the benefit of the doubt with the translating, but I wouldn't have gotten out of high school writing with that kind of boring and utterly pointless description. It sets the tone of "lonely dude being lonely" but really: two sandwiches? why two? sausage and liverwurst - fascinating.

    That's really just a page I opened to randomly - there is much worse. I am truly bitterly resentful of every minute I am stuck on the side of this mountain without a good book to read. I'm ready to browse the mini mart down the way and read the real estate magazines instead. Why have all the reviewers and Amazon steered me SO WRONG???

    I am not trying to insult anyone's taste - so please don't get mad about my opinion. But if you love this book, please - tell me WHY. What am I missing?

  • Beth F.

    Swedish people are nuts! I realize that’s a bit of a broad generalization and it sounds a bit rude, but I don’t care. Because more often than not, I’m nuts too.

    I was born and raised in Minnesota, and if you know our state history, you’re already aware that we were predominantly settled and populated by Swedish (and Norwegian) immigrants. So not only are many Minnesota residents of Scandinavian descent, myself included, a lot of our quirky mannerisms and even our accents are commonly attributed t

    Swedish people are nuts! I realize that’s a bit of a broad generalization and it sounds a bit rude, but I don’t care. Because more often than not, I’m nuts too.

    I was born and raised in Minnesota, and if you know our state history, you’re already aware that we were predominantly settled and populated by Swedish (and Norwegian) immigrants. So not only are many Minnesota residents of Scandinavian descent, myself included, a lot of our quirky mannerisms and even our accents are commonly attributed to this influence. I attended a Swedish Lutheran college (which attracted a lot of Swedish exchange students). And one of my oldest and dearest friends is an American by birth but was raised in Sweden and didn’t return to live full-time in the U.S. until she was 18. She’s always found Minnesotans to be a very interesting form of science experiment—what happens when you mix Swedish and American culture anyway?

    Taking what I know firsthand of Minnesota culture into consideration, I can only assume that Sweden, aka the motherland, is also a twisted place of dark, dry humor. Some mainstream examples that support this claim would include: Fargo, Drop Dead Gorgeous, A Prairie Home Companion and yes, even Mr. Purple Rain himself, who even though he’s genetically a bit more exotic than a plain old Swede, definitely displays some of the more oddball (but typical) Minnesota traits in his own special way.

    The point being, the characters in this book felt oddly familiar to me, quirks and all. I’m actually a bit surprised I loved the book as much as I did because I normally criticize authors for trying to jam too much into one story and this book had

    going on:

    --shady business dealings

    --corporate fraud

    --murder

    --religious fanaticism

    --extramarital affairs

    --Nazis

    --casual sex

    --creepy pervs

    --violence against women

    --money laundering

    --sexual sadism

    --political proselytizing

    --dysfunctional family secrets

    And that’s just scraping the surface. Because once Larsson got into it and started digging deeper into the plot and revealing more details, my head started spinning and I had smoke coming out of my ears. I wasn’t expecting to be sucked in so quickly by the plot and am still reeling over the fact that this brick-like book (my copy has nearly 600 pages) went as quickly as it did.

    I just reserved the sequel from the library and am also excited at the prospects of a third. I’m also sad that Mr. Larsson passed away. What a talented author—not many could tie so much crazy shit into one story and still have it make sense AND be entertaining.

    Although I think whoever decided to change the title when they released this book in English is nuts too. The original Swedish title, Men Who Hate Women, is much more fitting.

  • Brad

    I've heard and read many complaints about

    's

    :

    1. It's misogynistic.

    2. It's packed with cliché.

    3. It's too convoluted.

    4. It's too disturbing.

    5. Lisbeth wasn't autistic enough or was foolishly autistic.

    6. There were too many red herrings, and the damn Nazi red herring didn't have the usual payoff.

    7. Too/Two many plots.

    8. Too hard on Leviticus.

    I will answer these in a moment, but first I must declare that I am an unrepentant fan of this book. This is

    I've heard and read many complaints about

    's

    :

    1. It's misogynistic.

    2. It's packed with cliché.

    3. It's too convoluted.

    4. It's too disturbing.

    5. Lisbeth wasn't autistic enough or was foolishly autistic.

    6. There were too many red herrings, and the damn Nazi red herring didn't have the usual payoff.

    7. Too/Two many plots.

    8. Too hard on Leviticus.

    I will answer these in a moment, but first I must declare that I am an unrepentant fan of this book. This is one of the rare times when I long for goodreads to have half grades, because I would love to give this 4.5. I can't give it a full 5, though, because I sense Mr. Larsson's series is going to grow in his last two books.

    And now...back to the top eight complaints:

    1. Perhaps, but how can a book whose original Swedish title is "Men Who Hate Women" avoid misogyny? It can't. But at least the misogyny present is a comment on misogyny. Larsson isn't being misogynist. He's attacking misogyny.

    Moreover, our hero, Mikael Blomkvist, is not one of the men who hate women. He is a pretty good guy, actually; in fact, he's one of the rare guys I would actually categorize as a "good guy" in most modern literature. Sure...he's a bad Dad. Sure...he has a failed marriage and many sexual relationships. Sure...he makes some decisions that challenge his ethics. But he remains a "good guy." He tries to do well in an ugly world. He never succumbs to cynicism. And he genuinely cares about all the people in his life. Male and female.

    And it's not like Berger and Salander are weak women -- far from it. There may be misogyny in

    , but it is wholly the characters' misogyny -- those who have it -- and not the author's.

    2. With apologies to my friend who's first name starts with T: Cliché, smiché! Yes there's some cliché -- maybe plenty of cliché -- but who cares?! Seriously? We're not talking about

    here. We're talking about a mystery novel, a serial killer who-dunnit. Complaining about cliché in

    is like complaining about "pinko sympathies" in

    .

    There's communism in Marx? Really? You think!?

    3 & 7. Yep. There's a couple of distinct plots here, but there's a level of verisimilitude to that. Have even our banal lives ever had anything important happen without something else important occurring at the same time? Not mine, and to have multiple incidents happening simultaneously makes sense to me. The search for Harriet Vanger wasn't hampered at all by the Wennerström drama, and vice versa. And to be honest, I loved having a pair of mysteries solved in the same novel.

    4. Too disturbing compared to what? It's nowhere near as disturbing as

    , and it's about average as far as the serial killer genre goes. Plus, I think there is a power in the graphic moments of this novel, particularly Lisbeth's vengeance on her guardian. I am not on her side when it comes to this vengeance, but I understand it, and the drive to take vengeance in such a way -- such a human way -- fascinates me. Who'd have thought, besides maybe my friend Manny, that the Swedes have it in them?

    5. Perhaps this is true, but at this point I have only read one of the trilogy, and the only person who suggested that Lisbeth was autistic was Mikael, and while he thought she was suffering from Asberger's his guess was only in passing. I can cut the book some slack here. (suspend my disbelief, suspend my disbelief).

    6. I was stoked that, for once, the Nazis were a red herring rather than the ultimate, degenerated evil. We all expect the Nazis to be the worst of the worst, so it is refreshing to see them as a deflection instead.

    8. Can anyone really be too hard on Leviticus? Ummmmm...nope.

    Now, I admit that I might love this novel simply because it is set in Sweden. After all, I do love ABBA, Fredrik Ljungberg, IKEA (my apologies), glögg, Stellan Skarsgård, Max von Sydow, Ingmar Bergman, and Mats Sundin. I looked into emigrating to Sweden but had no excuse, being a resident of Canada with no skills the Swedes were looking for, and I am a fan of Norse Mythology, but I do love Sweden, and I was jazzed by the setting of

    's book. All that aside, however, I think

    was a compelling, entertaining and unabashedly thrilling read.

    If you can overlook the eight complaints, or consider them in a different light, you'll like this book too. I promise.

  • Sparrow

    Women are raised to routinely fear rape.

    “If you go at night, take a friend.” “Check under the car and in your backseat before you get in.” “I’m just saying it’s a good idea to know where the exits are.” “I got you this whistle for your keychain, you know, just so you have it.” “You were an hour later than I thought you’d be! We called the police!” “Oh, that’s pepper spray; I keep it with me just in case.” “I just make sure I get my keys out and check for other weapons if I’m getting off work lat

    Women are raised to routinely fear rape.

    “If you go at night, take a friend.” “Check under the car and in your backseat before you get in.” “I’m just saying it’s a good idea to know where the exits are.” “I got you this whistle for your keychain, you know, just so you have it.” “You were an hour later than I thought you’d be! We called the police!” “Oh, that’s pepper spray; I keep it with me just in case.” “I just make sure I get my keys out and check for other weapons if I’m getting off work late.” “Is this weird? I live alone and I’m going running, so if I don’t call you by 11:15, call the police, okay?”

    A woman who fights back – no, a woman who argues at all – does so knowing it will probably make her a social pariah.

    “She’s just one of those women who makes life hell . . . like a Hillary Clinton type.” “You’re different; you’re not a ball buster like some girls.” “You know that rape accusations can destroy a man’s life, right? And when she said it, did you see how she looked? I mean . . .” “All girls do is complain and nag. Not you, of course – most girls.” “But it is really women who are the privileged ones to be covered and cared for by the man; all of the responsibility for decisions are on him.” “He didn’t mean it the way it sounded, so you'll just regret it if you tell him he's wrong.” “She never understood me, and now she’s making all of these claims and trying to take practically half of my paycheck. I think she was just in it for the money in the first place.” “All I said was she has a nice rack; what a bitch.” “That’s just life; make the best of it.”

    And there is good reason we are raised to fear rape, and raised not to fight back: survival. Women know that if we walk alone in the dark, statistically there is a good chance we will get raped. If we go to the wrong party, we’ll be raped. If we misread that boy next door and his swellness is a con, rape. And when a person is in a position of being systematically controlled, it often does cause more physical or emotional damage to fight back. It’s not right, but it is realistic.

    It seems to me like it is the equivalent of every man being raised that if he leaves the house at the wrong time, he might encounter a woman who will strip him naked, hold him down, and knee him in the balls while she masturbates. And then in this alternate universe, these boys find out, as they grow up, that most of the men they know have had that happen to them. And I’m not trying to minimize sexual assault experiences that involve little or no physical injury, nor am I trying to minimize sexual assaults against men: no one has the right to touch another person’s body without permission. I’m talking about the way women are raised to think of daily life. Women are not raised to be afraid we’re going to get a super hot BJ that we didn’t realize we wanted, which is sometimes how I feel people talk about rape accusations. We are raised to encounter our daily lives knowing that, even if violence wasn't in our past, violence probably is in our future. And every time someone says, “Don’t go alone,” it is a little reminder that a lot of men hate us.

    I have to say, though, that while I think it is realistic to say that women are raised to fear rape and to incorporate that fear of rape into our daily routine, and that sometimes fighting back makes things more dangerous, I do not believe it is effective to live in fear or to encourage women to live in fear or not defend ourselves. I think that perpetuates an idea that women are powerless, which then encourages women to freeze up when encountered with violence or even conflict. I think

    is probably more productive.

    And teaching men not to rape.

    That seems like the approach this book takes, though it more directly simply reflects, with appropriate outrage, on the levels of male contempt for women. And I think in that way, in the way it is directed to men, it is about how gross contempt for women is, whether it takes the form of self-absorption or sadism.

    This book is smart. It is symmetrical in its execution in many ways: in starting and ending with Blomkvist’s corporate corruption story, and in the way it shows men and women accused of race whoring, men and women subjected to violence. The juxtaposition of

    is really well played. It is viscerally grotesque in the contrast, and it highlights the theme of consent. It was physically difficult for me to read, especially in the contrast, and I thought that made it very effective.

    Salander’s character, too, is smart. She is both the outcast that women are when we fight back, and she is something of the misunderstood-bad-boy hero turned girl. I liked that. When she

    . It bothers me when a storyteller starts to let a girl save a guy, but really she only tosses him the gun to save himself. Salander gets some real action and some real credit, and it is satisfying.

    Ultimately, it is pretty clear, but not laughing in your face, just resigned, Larsson knows

    . The hatred we condemn in this book, though, manifests as violence, and I can get behind featuring that and then fading out to Cicilia’s father condemning her as a whore and Blomkvist’s blissful self-absorption. It is a meaningful gradation. But, it is important that

    . And, aren’t we all assholes to each other a lot of the time? But not all of us get off on kneeing each other in the balls.

    This struck me as a very masculine translation of male hatred of women and the way women navigate a world that tells us every time we turn a corner that it hates us. It seems like men either have considered what life would be like if they had been trained to fear leaving the house after dark, or they haven’t. And in my experience, it is difficult for men to understand a woman’s words if she tries to describe it, so I think it is important to have a man tell a story this way. I do see how the graphic descriptions of sadistic violence against women might allow a sadistic audience to read only for that, but the fact that Larsson balances this with graphic violence against men neutralizes the gender-hatred aspect of that to me. And if you are reading these books for the violence, see a psychiatrist, but I don’t think it is productive to censor descriptions of violence just because someone fucked up might get off on them. And if you think these descriptions are fantastical exaggerations, go spend some time at your local women’s shelter. Unfortunately, I think you will find you are wrong. And I don't think it does anybody any good to be afraid to tell these stories.

    I hated the writing in this book a lot. Like, I hated it a lot. It both hit a lot of pet peeves of mine and it was just objectively bad in a lot of places. I don’t have a problem with books being badly written if the writing doesn’t get in the way of a good story, but here the writing was waiving its hands in my face the whole time trying to get me to lose the story. The sandwiches! OH TEH SANDWICHES! I wonder how much tourism for Sweden Larsson drummed up by the sandwich descriptions. I hope none because gag. I can see how he created the effect of an investigatory report through the writing, so, I think it is intentionally the way it is, but it was a choice I did not enjoy at all. So, overall this was a very unpleasant book to read, but it was smart, and its smartness outweighed its unpleasantness in my evaluation.

    It is always kind of a funny experience to read your own words as someone else would write them. In every Willa Cather novel I have read, there has been a moment where I’ve read something and thought, “I just said that last week!!!” It was funny in

    : I wanted to high five Salander all the time because I would think her dialogue right before I read it. I imagine everyone in the world has told me to read this book because of the times I say, “Oh, another man who hates women.” Or that it is bullshit to say someone had a violent childhood, so of course he had to be violent against women as an adult. So, it was funny to read somebody else say those words. At the same time, Salander felt like a man recording the facts of what he saw a woman do and say once, not like a living, breathing human character. That doesn’t take away from the smartness of the book, but it is another reason my actual enjoyment factor was low.

    Also, I had to go buy pickles yesterday because reading about so many of them gave me a craving. I hope Larsson’s estate got some sponsorship money from the sandwich and pickle lobbies. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Madeline

    After having leaped onto the bandwagon with the rest of everyone, I feel a certain amount of pretentious indie pride saying that I wasn't as awed by this book as everyone else apparently was. Which is not to say that the book wasn't enjoyable and exciting; it just didn't knock my socks off whilst simultaneously blowing my mind and rocking my world. (that sounds like either some great song lyrics or a very complicated sexual maneuver. Let's go with the first option.)

    So, the good stuff: the main s

    After having leaped onto the bandwagon with the rest of everyone, I feel a certain amount of pretentious indie pride saying that I wasn't as awed by this book as everyone else apparently was. Which is not to say that the book wasn't enjoyable and exciting; it just didn't knock my socks off whilst simultaneously blowing my mind and rocking my world. (that sounds like either some great song lyrics or a very complicated sexual maneuver. Let's go with the first option.)

    So, the good stuff: the main story - a disgraced journalist is hired by a rich old man to write a book about said man's crazy rich family, while secretly working to discover truth behind the disappearance and supposed murder of the man's granddaughter. Also in play is Lisbeth Salander, a freelance investigator who also happens to be one of the best hackers in Sweden. She also happens to be

    , but I'll get to that later.

    The journalist is investigating a supposed murder (a body was never found, so no one even knows what happened to the girl), so violence is expected. I just wasn't quite prepared for just how intensely graphic the violence is. There's a lot of stuff dealing with assault, rape, and murder of various women. There is also a lot of sex in the book, and the stuff that gets described in the most detail is definitely not consensual and will probably make you very uncomfortable. You've been warned.

    The investigation itself is pretty fascinating, implausible as it is that some random guy investigating a disappearance that took place 40 years ago was able to find out completely new leads that weren't found by the police or the girl's grandfather (who's been obsessing about the case since forever), but I digress. The family itself is equal parts interesting, creepy, and frustrating. It's not until the journalist (Blomkvist) teams up with Lisbeth that things get really interesting, and they made such a fun team I wanted them to get their own detective show.

    The book deals mainly with crimes against women and those who commit them. Larsson obviously feels very passionately about this subject, as well as what should be done with the men who assault women. Without giving anything away, rest assured that every bad guy rapist/murderer/whatever gets a large helping of tasty justice.

    And now for the bad stuff:

    -There's a lot of nattering on about business and computers and journalism and more business stuff that either bored me or went over my head completely.

    -Larsson cannot seem to decide whether he wants to refer to people by their last name or their first name, so he switches back and forth and it is confusing.

    -A family tree is provided at the beginning of the book, since the family the journalist is investigating (the Vangers) is pretty big, but I never had much trouble keeping everyone straight. A map of the island the family compound is located on would have been much more helpful, since I never really figured out the geography of the place.

    -Pointless details. I don't need to know what the characters ate for every single meal, I don't need to know exactly what model of computer/motorcycle/car a character uses, and I

    don't need to know what each character is wearing at every moment of the day. Larsson is especially guilty of this when Lisbeth is concerned - I guess he decided we wouldn't understand what a unique counterculture tough chick she is unless we know that she's always wearing leather jackets, boots, torn jeans, and black t-shirts with angry slogans. (yes, Larsson actually tells us what each of Lisbeth's t-shirts says.) Listen, Stieg: Lisbeth is awesome. She is wonderfully defined simply through her own actions and thoughts - we don't even need the other characters constantly reminding us how antisocial and tough and uncommunicative and badass she is.

    Show don't tell etc.

    To sum up, I'm going to give the last word to the book itself, and quote a sentence that's actually a character talking about a book featured towards the end of the story - but it could easily describe Larsson's book:

    "It was uneven stylistically, and in places the writing was actually rather poor - there had been no time for any fine polishing - but the book was animated by a fury that no reader could help but notice."

    That, in a nutshell, was how I felt about

    UPDATE: I just watched the film version of this book (the original Swedish one, thank you verra much), and am adding this to my "the movie is better" shelf. Not that the book isn't good; it's just that the movie streamlines the story and gets rid of everything I complained about earlier in this review. In the movie, all the minor characters and business-drama babble has been eliminated, Erika and Mikael's weird three-way relationship is thankfully unmentioned, Mikael never boffs Cecilia Vanger, and Noomi Rapace is

    as Lisbeth I can't even handle it. I'm also pretty sure they took some stuff from

    and put it in the movie, because there's some stuff about Lisbeth's past that I don't remember from the book.

    UPDATE UPDATE: Having now seen the American remake, and re-watched the Swedish version, I have come to a following decision. While the American version is, in a technical sense, a better movie (Fincher is a much better director - for just one example, the scene where Henrik Vanger explains the circumstances of Harriet's disappearance is a masterful example of show-don't-tell), I dislike the changes they made to the ending, and I simply cannot accept Rooney Mara as Lisbeth. Although I'm proud of Fincher & Co. for making her look and act as weird as the character should, something about her portrayal still wasn't right. If you're interested,

    explains pretty much every complaint I have about American Lisbeth.

  • Dan Schwent

    Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist is hired to solve the decades-old murder of Harriet Vanger, member of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden. Aided by a tattooed, antisocial hacker named Lisabeth Salander, Blomkvist unearths horrible skeletons lurking in the Vanger family closet...

    For a few years now, I've been avoiding The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Since so many people told me I just had to read it, many of them non-readers, I assumed it was a lot of over-hyped, dumbed-down crap. Wel

    Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist is hired to solve the decades-old murder of Harriet Vanger, member of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden. Aided by a tattooed, antisocial hacker named Lisabeth Salander, Blomkvist unearths horrible skeletons lurking in the Vanger family closet...

    For a few years now, I've been avoiding The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Since so many people told me I just had to read it, many of them non-readers, I assumed it was a lot of over-hyped, dumbed-down crap. Well, I may have been wrong. All hype aside, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a damn good book and I feel it goes beyond just being a mystery.

    Larsson creates some memorable characters. We've got Mikael Blomkvist, the tarnished journalist, Lisabeth Salander, bad ass hacker, for the leads, both multidimensional characters. Neither are by any means perfect but I liked them just the same. The Vanger family and the staff of the Millennium aren't as well drawn as the leads but Ericka Berger and some of the Vangers are good characters in their own right.

    I'll be honest. It took a little while for me to get moving but I was enthralled pretty early on. You wouldn't have thought I'd be that interesting in what could have been a tedious subject to read about, namely researching family archives for hints. Somehow Larsson managed to grab me, though.

    There isn't a lot of violence but what there is is pretty brutal. The hacking was pretty well done and not completely unbelievable. I guess what really sold the book for me was that I really believed in the characters. Both of them are pretty flawed but completely believable.

    I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a some complaints. Aside from the pace, I felt like Larsson threw in some needless details. I didn't need to know the brands of a lot of products or what the characters were eating. I also thought that Mikael Blomkvist being a sort of James Bond in regard to the ladies was a tad unbelievable. Honestly, those are my only two complaints I can think of at the moment.

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo deserves a lot of the hype it gets. Now go out and read it if you haven't already!

    I'm marking this down because I'm reading

    and enjoying it more than I enjoyed this. I was kind of a whore with my 5s in past years.

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin

    I re-read this book by audio and even though the narrator was good, he didn't do a good job on Lisbeth's voice. I wish that Noomi Rapace would have done her own voice. That would have been awesome.

    So, I have been a fan of this series for quite some time. I have the movie trilogy box set of the books that are fan freaking tastic! Although, now I have to switch from dvd to blu-ray! I also have a couple of different copies of the books!

    Lisbeth Salander is just freaking awesome. She's so bloody sm

    I re-read this book by audio and even though the narrator was good, he didn't do a good job on Lisbeth's voice. I wish that Noomi Rapace would have done her own voice. That would have been awesome.

    So, I have been a fan of this series for quite some time. I have the movie trilogy box set of the books that are fan freaking tastic! Although, now I have to switch from dvd to blu-ray! I also have a couple of different copies of the books!

    Lisbeth Salander is just freaking awesome. She's so bloody smart, I wish I was as smart as her and could be an awesome hacker like her too. Lol. I freaking loved when she got back at the b@stard who raped her as well. Wheewwwww, if only everyone could get that kind of revenge on their rapist. Oh, happy day!

    There are other things going on in the book but the main story line is about an uncle wanting to find out what happened to his niece, Harriet. He ends up hiring Mikael Blomkvist to find out what happened. Then Mikael gets lucky to have Lisbeth help him.

    Do these two find out some secrets! Mikael almost gets killed a time or two. Makes you wonder what all they are hiding!

    And of course, it's a big ole nasty secret. Why am I not surprised. It was just as hard to read about the second time around. Of course, there were other scenes that I had to skim through again, but I digress.

    If you haven't wandered into the world that is Lisbeth Salander, what are you waiting for? And try and watch the movie trilogy. They used to have it on Netflix, that is where I originally watched them and then went straight to Amazon to buy them. Yes, they are that good as well as the books.

    Happy Reading!


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