Ivanna S.'s Reviews > The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
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Mar 20, 11

Read in July, 2009

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?



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Comments (showing 1-41 of 41) (41 new)

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message 1: by Primp (new)

Primp I tried to read this and it was just terrible. Then I gave it to Dani who pretty much will read anything and she never finished it. Big kudos to you for even finishing this thing!


Stephen Those Larson books just suck suck suck.


Mila I'm glad you reminded me of the sausage AND liverwurst. Hilarious!


message 4: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra I'm glad I'm not alone with jumping off the bandwagon on this book.


Amanda Part of it is that there are three different plots that seem to have nothing to do with each other through the first half of the book. The second half of the book starts to pull them together, and the last quarter moves very fast as it all falls into place and leaves your head reeling. If you want a mini synopsis of what happens makes it so good, just ask. I could give you a few hints. I was curious. I didn't pick the book; it was given to me as a gift.


message 6: by Katie (new) - added it

Katie I'm really trying to give this book a chance... I believe it was page 127 or something when something SLIGHTLY interesting happened... now I'm stalled again at 196... boring and too much financial journalism mumbo jumbo...


Amanda Give it chunks of 90 minutes at a time. It helps move past the duller financial parts. It does drag at the beginning, especially about his court case. But hang in there. It does get better.


message 8: by Katie (new) - added it

Katie THanks -- I will keep pluggin' along! =)


Linda Sands hahaha! I got totally slammed for saying the same thing. Guy. Can. Not. Write. really want a refund.


Gator Girl agree agree agree...just nice to see others who didn't like it as well. "WHEN I FINALLY FINISHED" (because it took forever) I wondered what I had missed.


Katie Almost poked both my eyes out during the first 200 or so pages. My friends kept egging me on. Finished it last night. I will say there are some pretty good shockers. I mean, after reading myself to sleep for so long on this one, the shockers were really pretty shocking. I recommend you slog through the next 50 pages. Around page 250 (paperback edition) it starts to get more interesting. I did think the ending felt kind of rushed, if you can believe that! Good luck! (And don't be afraid to pick up a People magazine every now and then...there's no shame in reading the tabloids anymore!)


Lauren Had to laugh at your comment. I just finished saying almost exactly the same thing to my husband, and I just asked a few friends why I should keep reading it (these are friends who RAVED about it.) I'm about half-way through and was ready to take the book back to the library. Given that even more people here are saying to hang in there, I guess I will. But there better be some BIG payoff! :)


message 13: by jerilyn (new)

jerilyn only made it to about page 40 before I decided it's really not worth it to absolutely hate and not enjoy reading the first part of a book just to hope for any reason to continue...your comment was hilarious and thank for pointing out the bad writing. I never made it to the breakfast passage but you're completely right.


message 14: by Angie (new) - rated it 1 star

Angie I recently asked the same question on Facebook and not one person could give me a concrete answer, they all said "it gets better". I'm currently on page 193, still hating it and it is only through sheer stubbornness that I am plowing on. It is a struggle....so I am wondering the same thing: WHY do people love this book? I would truly love to know....


Sarah i loved this book. If you thought this was boring, try reading "The Life of Pi." After attempting to read that book, almost no book is boring.


message 16: by Melissa (new) - added it

Melissa Oh jeez, I got an awesome recommendation from a friend on this book and just ordered it. I will keep my fingers crossed that my take will be opposite yours but....your review seems fair and honest and not meant to falsely praise or, in this case, dismiss the high kudos this books has received. Thanks for posting your review, just wish I would have read it 2 days ago :)


Alanpalmer I don't thik you are missing anything, you have just taken a different reaction to the style of writing. It is the grotesque sexual and sadistic images which put me off, but not enough to detract from the book itself


Apurva Yeah, I had a similar experience reading this book. Everyone recommended it but it was full of bad writing and caricatures instead of characters. Even the character of Lisbeth that he spends so much time does not come alive for me. Do not think I will read his other books.
The trailer for the new movie starring Daniel Craig has a scene that is considerably better written than the book.
Blomkvist: They [referring to his notes on his laptop] were encrypted
Libeth [book version]: I can download a software from the net that can crack Word's password protection
Lisbeth [movie version]: Please...


Jessica I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way!

I worked at Borders until it closed and work at another book store now. Whenever people ask for my opinion of this book I say the same thing: "It's not my taste, but a lot of people seem to really enjoy it." I can't come right out and say it's one of the most boring books I've ever read, and let's be honest, if you tell me you're looking for a mystery novel, I'm going to tell you about the best sellers (because I'm not big on the genre); I want to get a sale. The guy who mentioned that they were asked to push the books was being extremely honest, but I can tell you without hesitation that their backroom was bombarded with copies of this book. Some people honestly seem to like it; my supervisor would read it compulsively.

I'm glad there are so many that hated it as much as I did, and I think it's the first time I've ever felt as if the movie was better than the novel.


Anthony Jessica wrote: "I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way!

I worked at Borders until it closed and work at another book store now. Whenever people ask for my opinion of this book I say the same thing: "I..."


I agree with you. I liked the first two films but hated the book. But the last film led to another question. How much punishment can a girl take? Brutally raped, beaten, shot (I think) buried alive,? I actually laughed when she got out of the grave. I just asked myself "Really? This is what people like?"


the scarecrow It's ok, I don't understand either. I think the issue is that Larsson once saw a girl get raped and he has this idealistic view of women being always wronged and always perfect, and maybe sees himself as some self-sppointed advocate for women's rights or something. Being a woman, even I have to call bullshit on the series.

Also, I wish he'd stop having sex with everything on two legs with a vagina. It's not only off-putting but unrealistic.


message 22: by Eric (new)

Eric I gave up at page 175 on the softcover. Too many Vangers to keep track of, and no real desire to keep them straight. I've read this far only to learn that some girl died a bunch of years earlier, an old guy pays a journalist to try to solve the murder, and there is a strange lady investigating the journalist. And none of them are particularly interesting characters. At page 100 I said, I'll try to persevere. At page 150, I said, I'll give it another shot. And now I'm throwing in the towel. I know the most I'll get out of it is perhaps an interesting plot twist. Why bother?


Naomi Brilliant review really. If I hadn't seen the Swedish film I don't think I would've bothered reading 'til the end. I'm so glad I joined goodreads because you're not always pandered to read the same old well publicised garbage. But then again, some people genuinely like Twilight... The world is a mystery to me.


message 24: by Lesley (last edited Jan 16, 2012 02:17AM) (new) - added it

Lesley I managed to keep going to the end, but with a fair amount of skimming. Even putting some of the clunkiness down to translation issues, the general structuring + infodumping were pretty deterring, and Our Hero is Marty Stu feminist male chick magnet crusading journalist (sigh).

Saw the US movie version at the weekend, which gets over the stylistic and vast swathes of prose that do nothing issues, but there's still a structure problem.


Candace Bowser I find it incredibly boorish, poorly written, and unable to keep my attention; like another book I too got sucked into reading....Twilight...which I didn't find amazing either!


message 26: by Linda (new) - rated it 1 star

Linda Sands Damn. I love this. We should make a cocktail club of anti GWDT book, and we can dog it all night long.


message 27: by Heather (last edited Feb 06, 2012 01:11PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Heather Harrison I LOATHED this book. It was the most boring pile of words I've ever read. That example you gave in your review was it in a nut shell!

I would LOVE to understand why people love this book. It was horrendous.


message 28: by Joe Edd (new) - added it

Joe Edd Morris Cheers!!!


Kaitlyn Thank you.


message 30: by Candy (new)

Candy Exactly. Couldn't of put it better.


message 31: by Chad (new) - rated it 2 stars

Chad Perrin Having read this review, I feel I don't need to write my own, now. The only difference of opinion I have with this review is the fact that the book seemed like it deserved two stars. Then again, maybe my opinion of it was swayed by the Swedish movie based on the novel (I haven't seen the American movie), which I thought was pretty good (better than the book).


message 32: by Trish (new) - rated it 1 star

Trish Knepper I felt that every time I turned a page I was being told the description of someone's dang house or room... I was skipping through chapters trying to find the "interesting" story line I had seen in the movie! I picked this book up because the movie was pretty good, and we all know that the book is ALWAYS better than the movie...not so in this case!


message 33: by H (new)

H FB I am a huge fan of the movie (original) and graphic novel but have never read the book...I just want to say that I literally laughed hard at your review...thanks for that :)


Saurio Saurio This book has all the mistakes of an aspiring beginner writer. The overdescriptionitis is the awfulest of all them (he only forgot to tell us how much the shit weighted every time a character took a dump), but the Macintoshitis got me mad (specially when he put all the technical specifications of the Mac Lisbeth buys) and when he gives us the URL to download some shareware program... well... or the guy is stupid or thinks we readers are stupids.
Bad, bad book.
But since it seems I am in S&M myself I will read the next two books ;-)
No, really, I will read the other two books, I want to know if they get better... or worser, I want to experience once again the supreme boredom of reading what the characters ate, the colour of their sweaters and what model of Mac are they using now.


Saurio Saurio This book has all the mistakes of an aspiring beginner writer. The overdescriptionitis is the awfulest of all them (he only forgot to tell us how much the shit weighted every time a character took a dump), but the Macintoshitis got me mad (specially when he put all the technical specifications of the Mac Lisbeth buys) and when he gives us the URL to download some shareware program... well... or the guy is stupid or thinks we readers are stupids.
Bad, bad book.
But since it seems I am in S&M myself I will read the next two books ;-)
No, really, I will read the other two books, I want to know if they get better... or worser, I want to experience once again the supreme boredom of reading what the characters ate, the colour of their sweaters and what model of Mac are they using now.


message 36: by Callie (new) - added it

Callie Rose Tyler People say i'm crazy but this is why i bring several book options with me where ever I go....nothing worse than being stuck with a boring bad book


Cristina Ferrara Finally someone else finds this book just as dreadful as I did.


message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

I am listening to this book, it is so very boring.
I am a hater of abridged books, but if there is any book in the world deserves de- wording, this is it.
I've several hours of listening yet, I hope it improves


Erica Geller helmer Word for word, I agree with you, Ivanna.


message 40: by Victoria (new) - added it

Victoria I have TRIED to get into this book three times, I just can't do it. Normally, I'm into a book by the first couple of pages, but I just don't think I want to read this. I've seen and heard so many great reviews and I wonder why this book isn't interesting me, but I guess it's just not for me. Perhaps I will try and read it again in the future...!


message 41: by Victoria (new) - added it

Victoria I have TRIED to get into this book three times, I just can't do it. Normally, I'm into a book by the first couple of pages, but I just don't think I want to read this. I've seen and heard so many great reviews and I wonder why this book isn't interesting me, but I guess it's just not for me. Perhaps I will try and read it again in the future...!


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