Sarita's Reviews > The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
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did not like it
bookshelves: dime-novel-spooks-and-gumshoes

** spoiler alert ** Hey, kids, if you like books in which the only major descriptive moments happen during sexual torture scenes, where major characters lack motive, and where the red herrings...stink ... this book's for you!

I may feel less strongly after a few days, but I am having a hard time believing this book has hit the best-seller lists in multiple countries.

**Rant containing Mild Spoilers**

Here are my complaints:

1. The entire book sets you up to think that the alleged killing/s were perpetrated by one or more people for complicated reasons.
They're not. A murderer, at the climax, reveals, "I like killing [people]." That's the motive. That's it.

2. The title character has her macabre past detailed at length. The salient facts to the case - how did she come into possession of her detective-ing skills? - is left out entirely. Her emotional life is ignored until it's needed for a little plot development and then ignored again for a gazillion pages. She makes Kinsey Milhoney look like a guru of emotional awareness and self-knowledge.

3. When a MAJOR DEVELOPMENT happens in the case, like, THE MAJOR DEVELOPMENT, we the readers hear about its resolution third hand. A reunion occurs and we are not privvy to it, even though it's REALLY IMPORTANT. That is LAME.

4. Stop with the Mac commericials aleady. Is it possible that the well-financed campaign for this book had to do with the fact that the dead author couldn't object to selling Apple and Kawasaki shout-outs?

5.The two plot lines are almost entirely unrelated. They don't even intersect, really; one segues into a second, and then, when the second is wrapped up entirely, the first plot returns to end with a whimper.

6. There is a Lot of torture-porn in this book. Did I mention that? Detailed description of sexual abuse, incest, and general nastiness that does nothing to advance the plot. Really. It just takes up space making you think there are reasons for the murders, but, see #1. We listened to this on cd and I kept trying to forward and ending up on the absolute worst moments. Blech.

7. Several passages written as an email conversation. It's like the author realized at a certain point that he was so bad at dialogue that he'd better just give it a rest for a while and instead use stilted telegraph talking.

8. This book was not fun or smart. I kept thinking it was about to be, but I was wrong.

**End of Rant**

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Reading Progress

September 30, 2008 – Shelved
Started Reading
December 1, 2008 – Finished Reading
December 26, 2008 – Shelved as: dime-novel-spooks-and-gumshoes

Comments Showing 1-43 of 43 (43 new)

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message 1: by Refmonster (new)

Refmonster You know, I think I like reading a good rant as much as I like reading a good book.

C'est si bon! Monstrously good!!

Sarita :) Thanks. Me, too.

Jane couldn't agree more.

Stacey well said! i agree with all of your complaints, but somehow didn't hate the book. it drives me nuts when i intellectually know a book is utter crap but am drawn into it anyway (see every jodi picoult novel ever written).

Shelley I do hate the book- Yes thats right am still in the process of hating the book... I keep reading and reading and reading waiting for it to get better and it DOESN'T... hating... Loved your comment tho- atleast I am not alone!

Paul Kerrigan I agree with the points you make.

Lisbeth Salander seemed quite an interesting character and I was hoping for some sort of great explanation of her background.

The torture scenes lacked things.

It's easy to guess that this so-called mystery is simply his daughter sending him a flower every year.

Characters too vague and numerous. Perhaps I'm an idiot, but hearing about one member of the family speak to another about something trivial was, well boring and trivial.

Even after Blomkvist was shot at the pace was still ridiculously slow!

Plus, what will Salander do about the money, about her feelings for Blomkvist, about... everything?

Amanda I completely agree.

Sarita :) Thanks, y'all. Smack-talking and finding an audience for said complaints? Totally satisfying. :)

Sarah I couldn't agree more! I can't believe this book is so popular. Ugh.

Alice So happy someone else can express their reasoning so much better than I do. The sexual torture/violence against women is such a huge part of this book. I am shocked so many people enjoyed hearing that stuff enough to like the book. It ruined it for me.

Erica Amen...glad it wasn't just me.

Laura Tams This is the first book amongst 3, and had the author not died, it would probably become 10 soon.
If you want more in-depht description on Salander and her past, then you can read book 2 which is centered around her.

Martin Torture-porn? It was hardly that interesting.

Auntie Thank you for articulating so many excellent points. Even though the author professed to be against violence against women, he obviously chose to dwell on the graphic details rather than the trauma that a victim has to live with.

Melissa And another thing. The first chapters lead the reader to expect a clever mystery involving high finance and journalism. What a let down when, with hardly any warning, it suddenly morphs into a humorless sex-torture-sadism affair, with no clever solving of mysteries at all. And the non-sadistic sex is just boring.

Gloria Whew. Glad I read your review! I really don't think I'd like this book. Thanks for saving me time!

Dhartridge I have to say I really wanted to find out how this book would end and thought the writing was better than some other genre stuff. I'm with you totally on the torture porn and also think it is WRONG at the end that they all agreed to cover up the story for fear it would hurt Harriet. What about all the families of the murdered women who wouldn't really know the whole story?! What about the police who'd missed a few things?! Well, back to my Donna Leon books....

message 18: by Nick (new)

Nick Johnson You think you feel stupid for reading this? Imagine how I felt when I inflicted the other two on myself! I think I read them for the same people rubberneck at car accidents. The guy is a voyeur on kinky sex and a crap writer to boot. And if I wanted to know how to furnish a house with Ikea stuff I'd go there and read the catalog. You all have been warned!

Artemis Nitzband Completely agree! was a waste of time. This book is layered with useless detail and lacks emotional depth. The climax of the book is 40 pages from the bland ending. Huge disappointment.

JanB Great review, I couldn't agree more!

Sarita Melissa wrote: "And another thing. The first chapters lead the reader to expect a clever mystery involving high finance and journalism. What a let down when, with hardly any warning, it suddenly morphs into a humo..."


Chris Not a good review....

How to de-construct this...

1. What is the most shocking thing a person could say when they commit murder? I like killing people. Plain and simple most law enforcement people have reported that people who state they killed just to do it as the sickest and most distrubed people. Why? motive is easy to explian and understand. When you have something that causes you to do something else then some understanding can be made. When there is no motive but, Hey i like it offered, that is just plain scary.

2. Ah you failed to see the point that she has a Aspergers . While it is a low level of aspergers , she has many of the signs of it. Low social skills and high cognitive skills. Quiet and prone to fits of violence when over stimulated. I do see a failure in the novel to better depict this, BUT it is covered more in the future books.

3. I disagree. Maybe you read it in another language because the main character finds the MAIN Development in the photos that he hunts for. OR maybe you just didn't see the hidden plot clues to lead you to these points.

4. Stop with the Mac commericials aleady. Is it possible that the well-financed campaign for this book had to do with the fact that the dead author couldn't object to selling Apple and Kawasaki shout-outs?

5. Really? Okay, this one I can not even compliment on. Next.

6. So would you have liked them to dumb it down and make it G rated? Are you one of those people that sees the good in everyone? Beleive it or not this story was a statement about how women are treated (in a veiled and fictional story). Go visit a SVU unit. This story makes some of the description in this book look like "Bambi".

7. I think once again you missed the point. I would sya this book took a less literary way of using dialog. I agree with you on that. As for the dialog is flowed more like natural conversations than literary dialog. I mean NO ONE talks between with a friend, confidant or murder like this in real life.

8. One question? "Do you have a case of the Monday's."

I will say this book is not a great literary work of our century. I too am amazed at how popular it became, but that's no surprise. I mean Dan Brown has had four novels in the top 10 before.

SO put away the rage. Move to the next book. I usually save my book rage for myself. Post a low score and say you would not recommend the book and wallah instant "I Hate This Book." whit out all the rage. Happy reading!

message 23: by Dawn (new)

Dawn I'm trying to stick it out hoping this book will get better but it is putting me to sleep. I hate leaving a book unfinished but after reading the comments it's only strenghting my opinion...this book is a dud & I should move on.

Jenn "JR" Oh, Dawn - I am on the same plane as you - trying to stick it out and hate not finishing a book. I'm going to do it so I can see the movie. :)

I had this same problem with "Bridget Jones' Diary" which I thought was spectacularly unfunny, and also with "The Secret Life of Bees" and "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." I think I'll stick with Dostoevsky...

message 25: by Megan (new) - rated it 1 star

Megan This book was first translated into French with the title, "The men who hate women". Yes, I couldn't agree more, this was just a sadistic joy ride with a thinly veiled cover of a "murder mystery". Shame.

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

eq I <3 your #7. So true. I think the majority of the conversation between Berger and Blomkvist was LAME.

message 27: by Susanna (last edited Aug 08, 2010 07:47AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Susanna ** SPOILERS **
I enjoyed the book up until say page 200 something. The writer's style was always a bit annoying but the plot had lots of potential. But then it was all downhill. We never learned much about the Vanger family. I figured that Harriet would be alive and I didn't gasp when Martin turned out to be the killer. It could have been any of them and we were only given superficial information on the characters. YET, we were given far too much information on torture, incest and sex, which like you said did not advance the plot. As a bookseller I am happy to sell lots of copies but I fail to understand the hype.

Jenn "JR" I did finish the book and saw the movie. The movie was much better than the book - it cleaned up a lot of the sub-plots (like the hot Vanger dating pool) and the incest. We aren't really given insight into the Vangers and the movie focuses more on developing Salander as the primary protagonist for the film trilogy. I saw the second film and there were too many flashbacks and review of the rape from the first film for my taste - like - really? We have to be bashed over the head with visual and audio repeats of that horrible scene?

message 29: by Katya (new) - rated it 1 star

Katya I am in complete agreement with you so far. I'm a little over 200 pages into it and not hooked in the slightest. In fact I'm more disgusted than I am interested.

FYI, Chris, just because a review doesn't agree with your opinion doesn't mean it's not a good review and we're entitled to write our reviews however we please. That's the beauty of free speech, my friend.

Franky Great review/rant. Definitely more logical than the book, especially the last 100 pages or so, in which I literally wanted to throw it across the room.

The overpraise of this book is totally baffling, maybe the real mystery that should be solved.

Rachelle You summed it up nearly perfectly. I couldn't agree more. I never even cared about the whole finance/corruption part because the character whose name escapes me wasn't developed enough for me to even hate him or want him to get caught(the guy who won the case against Blomvquist for libel).

The main plot with the Vanger family was a big let down. From the quick ending of it all to the way the family chose to handle it. I felt like an idiot for spending all that time reading and for what?

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

Beth I thoroughly agree with everything you said. Thank you for spelling it all out so clearly!

Someone in the comments asked what Lisbeth would do with the money and/or her feelings for Blomkvist. I think the most telling thing about this book is that I honestly could not care less about the answers to either. She tossed that Elvis painting or whatever it was in the garbage after seeing him with Berger, and I wanted to do the same with this book. I plan on never giving this story another thought until I'm bombarded with seeing the previews for the American movie version.

message 33: by Tom (new)

Tom I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if they had dumped about 300 or more pages of useless nonsense. How many times did he stretch out "Blomkvist put on the coffee and sat down to work until 4 in the morning. He gets up in the morning, has a shower and cooks breakfast after putting on a pot of coffee. He goes for a run and looks over the pictures again, mulling over the I DON'T CARE ABOUT THESE DETAILS OVER AND OVER AGAIN".

message 34: by Mila (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mila Best review I've read in a long time.

Sarita Tom wrote: "I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if they had dumped about 300 or more pages of useless nonsense. How many times did he stretch out "Blomkvist put on the coffee and sat down to work until 4 ..." You know, a lot of spy novels/mystery books do that. I have no idea why, but normally I can get over it....not this time, obviously...

Sarita Megan wrote: "This book was first translated into French with the title, "The men who hate women". Yes, I couldn't agree more, this was just a sadistic joy ride with a thinly veiled cover of a "murder mystery". ..."

Heather That made me laugh out loud!

Booky I so agree with you...the author provided too much detail about the rape scenes and this kid Lisbeth...She just seemed like a kid who has a survival instinct, but doesn't seem capable of emotionally processing much.

Jaroslav Tuček > "I like killing [people]." That's the motive. That's it.

It was kind of inconsistent. That's his motive and still he goes to the retarded trouble of ceremonially slaughtering the cat in a tomb before he leaves it on Blomkvist's porch. Yeah, I guess I expected some crazed sect of literal Bible worshipers too. But are psychos ever really complicated?

Shreya Palodhi i finished reading this book yesterday. sorry i am late but i absolutely agree with your review. This book made me so frustrated at the end that after the "revelation " i didn't even bother to complete the book. Spoilers ahead , there are some major incidents in the book which i can't make sense of? why was there so much pages wasted on the fact that the serial killer was some sort of bible maniac? he was not. he just liked killing people that's all. why waste so much time in decrypting bible? harriet vanger is really stupid and i agree with salander on this one. why hide from your family where there is a caring grandpa who will solve your problems? she already killed her father. then what was the point of running away? overall the book was very very long. the descriptions are super boring. this book wasted 5 days of my life. p.s. i hated the wennerstorm plot. it added nothing to the plot.

Sarita hear hear!

message 42: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Jade Major character had motives, and the book is kinda about sex and torture, and murder. So...

Kelsey Yes, yes! I agree with all your bullet points. Plus, I was confused by the hate toward religion. It was weird to the point of distraction that the earlier murders took some leeway with bible references. The murders were motivated by sex, hedonism and hate rather than any connection to religion. Religion and Nazism were total red herrings.
I was so confused to be the only one of my friends on Goodreads to give this international best seller 1 star. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone in my loner-rant.

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