Anthony's Reviews > The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
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Aug 18, 10

bookshelves: mystery
Read in April, 2009

** spoiler alert ** Not sure what all the hype was about. The first 1/3 of the book showed promise. Two seperate characters who will soon cross paths. Kind of classic mystery story telling. But then it has some moments of perversity that didn't really need to be in the story. Kind of creepy and weird. I guess there is not a lot to do in Sweden.
The second part they are together on an island trying to solve a mystery that was never really engaging. They had to find out what happened to a girl forty years ago. Wow! Exciting stuff. Oh and some family members were part of the Nazi party sixty years ago. Uh ok. Not sure why that is relevant but every good mystery needs a Nazi or two I'm sure. The story brings out more sexual darkness (I can see the tourist ads now for Sweden) and disolves into a weird sexual torture/homosexual/incest tale. No Beastiality? C'mon! I feel cheated!
The last 1/3 of the book was never really needed because the mystery is over and it basically takes the author 100 pages to wrap it up. Oh and we find out his longtime lover is into B&D and S&M. Why this is important? I have no idea. But it was important to Stieg. I like to call him Stieg because, even though he is dead, I feel that we are on a first name basis after the author uses "buttplug" in his book.
It was not that great of a book. I am shocked at all the great reviews. A girlfriend of mine agreed with all the problems I had with the book yet she still loved it. This seems to be the case with many book groups. Why? I don't understand admitting the book is crap but still loving it. The end results were not remotely believable. A woman comes off a sheep ranch where she has been living for the last forty years and immediately takes over a fortune 500 type company. Uh, ok? Characters were either tossed aside quickly (then why have them?) or never developed. Another reviewer mentioned the product placement. I did find it strange that the author seemed to have a Mac fetish among many others. Also, his main character is the self appointed moral watchdog of companies (because capitalism is evil I guess) yet can't keep his zipper zipped. This book did not encourage me to visit Sweden any time soon. Also, as an Elvis fan, I did not appreciate the last line in the book.
I just saw the Swedish film adaptation of the book and I actually enjoyed it. This was the first time I have ever said, "The film was better than the book." Now I hear there will be an American version. Which we all know will be crap.
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by Lora (new)

Lora I agree with the one star review. I was disturbed by how many times the word rape was casually used. Our book club chose this book because of the hype. This is a mystery book that tries to pack every mystery scenario possible and it became laughable. I'd like to count how many cups of coffee they drank. Go to Nora Ephrom's parody and you will have laugh out loud belly laughs!


Emma Lora wrote: "I agree with the one star review. I was disturbed by how many times the word rape was casually used."

What do you mean casually used? I don't think there's anything casual about any of the situations put forth in this book.

The title of the book is Men Who Hate Women, what it's inherently about is sexual violence, which becomes only more clear if you read the second novel. Also the bit about Berger's sexual proclivities is I think partially to juxtapose the sexual violence with healthy sexual attitudes.

Tony wrote: "Also, his main character is the self appointed moral watchdog of companies (because capitalism is evil I guess) yet can't keep his zipper zipped."

I'm sorry, what does one have to do with the other? The fact that Blomqvist is a bit of a slut doesn't have anything to do with what sort of person he is.

And for the record, they questioned Harriet Vanger's appointment RIGHT IN THE BOOK, but it was stated that she'd already been running a large company in Australia.

I think you both sincerely missed the point of this book.


Anthony Emma wrote: "Lora wrote: "I agree with the one star review. I was disturbed by how many times the word rape was casually used."

What do you mean casually used? I don't think there's anything casual about any o..."


Emma needs to calm down a bit. The book was bubble gum writing and reading. Chewed up, spat out, and forgotten quickly.

Running a sheep farm/company is different than a fortune 500 with endless business interests. I question her appointment as well.

Morality does cut both ways. If you are going to preach and point your finger at others and their moral choices then you better be walking the walk.

I sincerely feel YOU missed the point. It is a fluff book not literature.


Kristin A girlfriend of mine agreed with all the problems I had with the book yet she still loved it. This seems to be the case with many book groups. Why? I don't understand admitting the book is crap but still loving it.

I don't disagree with some of the problems you mentioned (although I don't agree with all of them, either), however I also loved the book. It wasn't deep or thought-provoking; it was just a page turner plain and simple.

I think it's totally possible to recognize the flaws in a book, but still enjoy the ride. Books can absolutely be entertaining without actually having much, if any, literary value. Sometimes we choose to read books which make us think; sometimes we choose read just for fun.


message 5: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie But there was bestiality. Kind of.


Mark tony great review, thanks


Ivanho I agree Tony. This book does not live up to the hype. I'll grant Stieg knows how to develop a plot with tremendous pace and build up but... when all was finally reveled it turned out to be so...so...parochial. Martin is a homicidial sexually deviant Nazi. Really? REALLY?? That's the best he can come up with??

In the end it's an average crime thriller with a ridiculous ridiculous plot and a view on sexuality I found absurd. Stieg was so bent on shoving this "Almost All Men Hate Women" paradigm down our throats he makes it painfully obvious that one has to be the zenith of a sexual libertine in order for women to be true sexual equals of men. Anything short is some sort of attempt to control and subjugate women.

I think on a lesser note he was also going for some sort of moral ambiguity to make the characters "complex" by making them sexual renegades. Alas this such a stock way to make characters "complex" that it doesn't break any new ground whatsoever.

Other hypocrisies that annoyed me -

Capitalism - bad
Totally Absent Father - not so bad. In fact, not even worth a superficial discussion.
Government Guardianships - evil
Casual sex with anyone you meet including affairs with married people - an enlightened attitude that is clearly more evolved than monogamous prudes.

I also agree that the comment about Berger being into BDSM was from left field. I found it left a bad taste in my mouth. I think it was some lame attempt at saying "See. This perfectly acceptable, if not superlative, to normal sexual behavior if someone also holds the requisite views on other issues. It's only weird if they are also a Nazi and homicidal."

I just didn't find any of the main characters that likeable to be honest. I just didn't really care about what happened to any of them.

One of the most egregious things was the jacket review that made some crazy allusion to this book being some sort of Swedish War and Peace. A bigger insult to one of the greatest books I have ever read I could not imagine.

All in all, I just wanted to get to the last friggin' last page to get the big reveal, was disappointed, and was left thinking, "This is the big sensation?? WTF??"


Anthony Ivanho wrote: "I agree Tony. This book does not live up to the hype. I'll grant Stieg knows how to develop a plot with tremendous pace and build up but... when all was finally reveled it turned out to be so...so...."

Very well written. I agree with you 100%.


Tiffany I had similiar thoughts throughout the book.


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