Addie's Reviews > The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
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Jun 23, 10

Read in October, 2009 — I own a copy, read count: 2

Upon finishing the novel, I find the original Swedish title, Men Who Hate Women, infinitely more fitting.

This book took a little while to hook me, but I think that is a failure on my part as a reader rather than a failure on Stieg Larsson's part as a writer. I was trying to read too fast, and I wasn't taking the time to really let the material sink in. All the financial journalism jargon at the beginning caused this, as that subject is one that goes completely over my head...it's just not something I am particularly interested in, never mind that it was in regard to a foreign currency and economy.

I could read about Lisbeth Salander all day long. This stoic, asocial girl captured my interest just the way she has captured so many others'. A fiery ward of the state, she has been tossed around from guardian to guardian for most of her young life. Misdiagnosed as a crazy kid, she has never tried to explain herself otherwise, instead frustrating her doctors and guardians with her silence. Prone to bouts of violence towards those who deserve it, she's an odd vigilante who believes everyone is responsible for their actions. What a twisted role model! I love it. It is mentioned by Blomkvist that she may have Asperger's Syndrome, which explains her brilliant mind and anti-social nature, but I don't remember if it was ever confirmed in the text. Maybe The Girl Who Played with Fire will have more insight into her condition.

And her newly appointed guardian, Advokat Bjurman, was so deliciously evil that I actually squirmed when he entered a scene, which - with me - is an achievement for any villain. He is twisted and heinous, and it's really as simple as that.

I noticed an important parallel between Advokat Bjurman and Mikael Blomkvist as I was looking through the book just now for this review. They both tell Lisbeth that they want to be her friend, and that they need to be able to trust each other. But it is the context in which they say these things to her that sets them apart from one another, and gives so much insight into why and how Lisbeth is so untrusting of others. It is a brilliant literary method by Stieg Larsson.

The detailed descriptions of all the computers in this book were a rare moment of laughter for me, and the labels led me to believe that Mr. Larsson was quite the Apple enthusiast. I know it's not fair to laugh because it was written around 2002, but Lisbeth's powerful machine with "960 MB RAM and a 60 GB hard drive" had me rolling for reasons completely unrelated to the book.

Unlike so many other reviewers, I was very rarely shocked whilst reading this book. I accepted the violent pornographic nature of it because it was part of the story. I had the mystery figured out pretty early on, but I kept trying to convince myself that maybe I was wrong. I wasn't, so I decided to focus on other aspects of the novel, which managed to increase my enjoyment of it.

I tend to have trouble enjoying mystery books, because the endings are so rarely a surprise to me. This is because I generally SUSPECT EVERYONE OF EVERYTHING. Yeah, that clean-cut, dashingly cute guy from work who impresses you with his knowledge of e.e. cummings and champagne? He has sex with little boys and throws their bodies in a ravine. Your sympathetic and popular boss is probably planning ways to kidnap, rape, and torture you or your coworkers, which you now realize is why your office keeps having to hire new file room clerks. Your son or daughter probably cuts the heads' off mice and feeds arsenic to your neighbor's cat. Your best friend? Psychotic killer with daddy issues. This line of thinking is where my brain naturally meanders while reading mysteries, and because of it the "Twists" are very rarely Twists to me.

A good mystery book is one where I don't guess the killer or motive.

A great mystery book is one where I do guess the killer, but it fails to ruin my enjoyment of said book because the rest of the story, characters, and reasoning for such a tragedy are so juicy and good that I don't care.

The latter applies to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
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Reading Progress

10/01/2009 page 65
15.15%
10/08/2009 page 219
51.05% "Lisbeth is my hero."
06/20/2010 page 129
30.0% "Rereading this series!"
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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David I had a similar experience with this book initially. As much as I wanted to know what was going to happen next, I found I needed to slow down and appreciate the rich detail and depth in the book. It ultimately made for a much more enjoyable read.


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