Megan's Reviews > The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
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Nov 04, 10

Read from October 31 to November 03, 2010

Today I discussed with a friend the difference between adoring a book, and not being able to put it down. It wasn't until I read Girl With the Dragon Tattoo that I realized that these are two different things.

I could not put this book down. I got far too little sleep during the two days that I spent reading it. The plot will sink it's claws into you and will not let you go until you have finished the last page, if even then (you can tell it's meant to be a trilogy by the way it ends and I am impatiently awaiting the next installment from the library).

Ok, so having confessed that I was just as hooked as the other 20% of this planet who have read this book, I can now tell you that I didn't love it. I liked it. The plot was smart, and the suspense very effective.


The writing was only ok. Luckily it was not intrusive. Also, after defending Larsson's portrayal of violence against women elsewhere on this web site, I eventually came around to some friends' perspectives. Ok, rape and sadism happen in the book, and the perpetrators are treated like the scum of the earth that they are. I believe that Larsson believed he was exploring these themes in the interest of feminism. Why then does the protagonist (male) need to sleep with every woman that comes within ten feet of him? Why do at least two of these women simper and want long-term relationships when our randy hero just nonchalantly disclaims that he's not the settling type?

Far be it from me to judge those who consider themselves allergic to matrimony. But when you write a spy-thriller you have to realize that your characters become archetypes. With his character Mikael Blomkvist, Stieg Larsson is perpetuating the noir-ish chauvinism that the genre can do perfectly well without.

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Thanks for the closer look at what he is really doing. My impression of the book is basically that it is chock full of gratuitous violence. I just cannot get past that. Regardless of any message, Larssen's work takes the already-standard of using violence to attract readers and consumers of media of all sorts, to the next step. We don't need that. While I understand that I am not one of the younger generation, I am also able to see that so much violence in our media is making people inured to it. What a sad thing. When I was growing up, seeing the photographs of the results of war in Vietnam absolutely horrified us. Now, we don't even notice the increasing escalation of violence in the world, and I believe it is partly because of the over-saturation and acceptance of it in "entertainment."

Mike Could the "only ok" writing be a result of a poor translation? That's where I placed the blame, but who knows?

I agree with you on Blomkvist's sex life. Actually I was OK with it (chalked it up to a middle-age writer's fantasy) until Lizbeth. I always think of the afterward I read by John Irving, describing the paradox the writer gets into, where he loses control of supposedly fictional characters, because readers become so grumpy when these unreal figments of his imagination "do things they wouldn't do". Come on Larsson, you're really stretching "suspend disbelief" here!

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