Tatiana's Reviews > The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
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's review
Apr 30, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: 2010, mysteries-thrillers-horror
Read from February 23 to March 02, 2010

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.
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Reading Progress

02/24/2010 page 2 "Really like it so far. Very engaging."
02/25/2010 page 4 "Just getting more and more interesting. Wish I had a paper book instead of audio..."
03/02/2010 page 12 "Sad it's almost over. This has been quite a ride"
02/29/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 52) (52 new)

Heather I've heard so many mixed reviews on this one. I'm glad that you are liking it.

Tatiana With the bestsellers you never know if you'll like it or not. Luckily, I am really into it.

message 3: by Crystal (new) - added it

Crystal I keep seeing this one. I will be waiting for your review to see if it is a worthwhile read =)

Heather Wow, you really are enjoying this. I just love it when you love a book so much that the ending is bittersweet.

Tatiana Hopefully, you'll like it as much I did

Heather Love the review, I'll pick it up as soon as #4 in line returns it to the library :)

Tatiana Thanks.

Didn't know you were up for it

message 8: by Hanen (new)

Hanen Well done for the review! I read it in French where the title is the exact translation from the swedish "The men who hate women" (Les hommes qui detestent les femmes). I liked also the next installement but couldn't finish the 3rd one until now: the too many details about the SÄpo got boring.

Tatiana Thanks.

Was the 3rd book really that bad? :(

message 10: by Crystal (new) - added it

Crystal Great review =) I think I will add it to my tbr.

message 11: by Hanen (new)

Hanen Tatiana wrote: "Thanks.

Was the 3rd book really that bad? :("

No it's not bad it's just a bit "heavy". Larsson got into too much details for the period when the Sapo hosted Lisbeth's father and I just wasn't in the mood for that type of stories to finish it.

Jocelyn Wish I had read this before I started. I don't handle the violence well and I wish I could undo what I started.

message 13: by Emerson (new)

Emerson thanks for the head's-up about this one. almost got if for my wife, but she wouldn't enjoy it - knowing what you explained here. thanks.

Taianne i agree that the original title is much more suitable. I dont think i can stomach the other books in the series.

Marisa Okay, you're the only person that I'm following or that I'm friends with that has read this book. I tried a couple of times to read it, but just couldn't get throught the economic/financial situation at the start. I really, truly tried to muddle through it, and I really want to read these, the hype is outrageous. In your opinion, would it work if I just skipped ahead a bit?

Tatiana If you didn't like this first book I don't see a reason for you to continue. The 2nd book is weaker than the 1st.

SpatialH I would have said five stars if not for the same qualm you had. Exactly: male fantasy with the main character.

Do the follow on books have the same thing going on? Cuz I may not read em if so. It really got in the way of the story at times.

Tatiana Blomkvist has pretty much the same sex god thing going on in each book.

message 19: by Anna (new)

Anna Jean thanks for the info. glad i read your review before buying it.

message 20: by Gabby (new)

Gabby Thanks for the heads up on the content!!

Tatiana Glad I could help you.

message 22: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa I'm glad to see you liked this book. I haven't read it yet but it's on my short list of books to read. I'm definitely going to check it out.

Rewordnik Thanks for sharing the info about the original Swedish title - greatly adds fuel to my ongoing meditations about the book.

Annalise I completely agree with your observations on the Mikael character; I found it a little ridiculous myself...

Tatiana He remains a stud throughout the trilogy. There is no woman in the world who can say "no" to Mikael:)

Barbara (VampAngel) Besides the whole Mikael issue, which I also thought was ridiculous and totally wish fulfillment, I really like this series. The movies are also good, very faithful to the books.

Allysia I loved the series and I thought the charaters were famoninal.

Aditya T S Trust me there are far worse books with crime against women. This is acceptable in crime fiction these days.

message 29: by Abi (new)

Abi Thanks for the heads up about the child violence. I have a weak stomach for that these days.

message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Wish I had read your review before I read it but I did manage it and liked Lisbeth.

Kaymo19 I'm currently reading the book right now--about 25 % through it, and I noticed at the beginning of some chapters, there's a statistic about crime against women. Reading the first part of your review makes a lot more sense now, but I haven't gotten to any of the violence yet.

Tatiana You'll get to it soon enough. The first part is mostly about some company business, if I remember it right.

message 33: by Emily (new)

Emily Bergeron thank you for the warning about the violence.

message 34: by Mike (new)

Mike Madden I think your comment about Mikael being this man who is adored by all women and gets laid all the time is really interesting. I reccently did a review of the newest film by David Fincher - http://www.ctzine.com/?p=971 - in which I analyze the dynamic between Lisbeth and Mikael. The film portrays Mikael as bumbling and confused at times, who becomes dependent upon Lisbeth. If you take a look, let me know what you think.

message 35: by Mike (new)

Mike Madden recently*

Shirley Lisbeth is an outstanding character - hence the new title

message 37: by Zeek (last edited Feb 10, 2012 11:34AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zeek "The character of Mikael Blomkvist smelled of a male wish fulfillment fantasy"

I thot so too- Male Mary Sue all the way! Still- I love this series.

RE the movie- he's a different character on film, my friend who hadnt read the book before we saw the movie said she totally didnt get that about Blomkvist when we who had read the book discussed that aspect of him. (For the record she and I both loved Craig's portrayal of him non the less.)

Tatiana Yes, Craig's portrayal is a lot more sympathetic, because so much of his "adventures" were omitted. Plus, Craig is hot:)

message 39: by Zeek (last edited Feb 10, 2012 11:44AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zeek word

I hadnt read the other two when i saw the movie- isnt a hardship having Craig running around my head as Blomkvist as I read them now! :P

Kellie Maddox-Ward I tried to read this book but I didn't get very far until it bored me BUT I did watch the movie tonight and thought it was fantastic so will try and read the book again now are they pretty close story wise?

Tatiana Well, the story in the book is much more detailed and much longer, and there were some changes made to the plot, not huge changes, but still.

Shirley I'm on the last book - taking me longer to finshing as much focus is paid to the villians - book 1 and 2 were great - I look forward to seeing the movie.

message 43: by Alexa (new)

Alexa i'm really curious to read this!

Kaalomai Marisa wrote: "Okay, you're the only person that I'm following or that I'm friends with that has read this book. I tried a couple of times to read it, but just couldn't get throught the economic/financial situat..."

heres what i have to say. watch the american version of the movie. then read the book and you can skip all that investigation/history stuff bc its covered in the movie and isnt important to the main storylines other than as fodder to the investigative yearnings. feel free to skip all you want in that arena. the second book is much more interesting and focuses on the characters and lisbeth much more and is much more satisfying in that area. im on the third book now and im finding myself skipping again. not as much as the first book but some. :D enjoy....

Kaalomai having studied and worked with people on the aspergers/autism spectrum i think that its a very possible diagnosis that she is on the high functioning, aspergers end of the spectrum. the anti social behavior is due to a all the evil she endured when growing up, things that would turn just about anyone anti-social in one way or the other. the autism spectrum is a very complicated and diverse population, very hard to pigeon hole. but her lack of interest/success in close relationships and distaste for making eye contact and small talk, coupled with her extremely high intelligence and aptitude for a variety of things are strong indicators for being on the spectrum.

message 46: by Allison (new) - added it

Allison Wonderland Hello! I have this book sitting in my shelf, and I've been wanting to read it for a while, but I've recently learned that the author passed away before concluding the series? Is this true? And if so, is it worth it to read anyways with an unfinished ending???

message 47: by Zeek (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zeek He did wrap up lisabeth's character arch by the third book. Altho there was definitely room
for continuing in. But you wont be left hanging.

The first book: the first quarter of the book is mind numbingly dull. But then about 25% in, it takes off at a break neck speed. Shocked even me. I literally sat up straight in bed about that point and fell so hard into the story i didnt look up till the last quarter if the book. If you find yourself ready to set it down and give up before the 25% mark, dont. You'll be glad you didnt!

Lisabeth Salander is one of my all time fave female characters.

message 48: by Alan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alan Sheinwald Thanks for the heads up.

Brian O'Callaghan I had similar thoughts about wish-fulfillment Mickael, but I thought maybe that's the point. The ending throws into relief that, despite his good qualities (protagonist), perhaps he is also a man who hates women (albeit in a different way).

Tatiana Brian wrote: "I had similar thoughts about wish-fulfillment Mickael, but I thought maybe that's the point. The ending throws into relief that, despite his good qualities (protagonist), perhaps he is also a man w..."

Great point!

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