Beth F.'s Reviews > The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
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Aug 07, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: book-club, mystery, scandinavian, crime, vile-rapists, 2009-five-star-reads, 2009, please-dont-launder-money, abuse, i-reviewed-this-bad-boy, src-fall-2009
Read in September, 2009

Swedish people are nuts! I realize that’s a bit of a broad generalization and it sounds a bit rude, but I don’t care. Because more often than not, I’m nuts too.

I was born and raised in Minnesota, and if you know our state history, you’re already aware that we were predominantly settled and populated by Swedish (and Norwegian) immigrants. So not only are many Minnesota residents of Scandinavian descent, myself included, a lot of our quirky mannerisms and even our accents are commonly attributed to this influence. I attended a Swedish Lutheran college (which attracted a lot of Swedish exchange students). And one of my oldest and dearest friends is an American by birth but was raised in Sweden and didn’t return to live full-time in the U.S. until she was 18. She’s always found Minnesotans to be a very interesting form of science experiment—what happens when you mix Swedish and American culture anyway?

Taking what I know firsthand of Minnesota culture into consideration, I can only assume that Sweden, aka the motherland, is also a twisted place of dark, dry humor. Some mainstream examples that support this claim would include: Fargo, Drop Dead Gorgeous, A Prairie Home Companion and yes, even Mr. Purple Rain himself, who even though he’s genetically a bit more exotic than a plain old Swede, definitely displays some of the more oddball (but typical) Minnesota traits in his own special way.

The point being, the characters in this book felt oddly familiar to me, quirks and all. I’m actually a bit surprised I loved the book as much as I did because I normally criticize authors for trying to jam too much into one story and this book had a lot going on:

--shady business dealings
--corporate fraud
--murder
--religious fanaticism
--extramarital affairs
--Nazis
--casual sex
--creepy pervs
--violence against women
--money laundering
--sexual sadism
--political proselytizing
--dysfunctional family secrets

And that’s just scraping the surface. Because once Larsson got into it and started digging deeper into the plot and revealing more details, my head started spinning and I had smoke coming out of my ears. I wasn’t expecting to be sucked in so quickly by the plot and am still reeling over the fact that this brick-like book (my copy has nearly 600 pages) went as quickly as it did.

I just reserved the sequel from the library and am also excited at the prospects of a third. I’m also sad that Mr. Larsson passed away. What a talented author—not many could tie so much crazy shit into one story and still have it make sense AND be entertaining.

Although I think whoever decided to change the title when they released this book in English is nuts too. The original Swedish title, Men Who Hate Women, is much more fitting.
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Reading Progress

08/31/2009 page 1
0.17%
08/31/2009 page 33
5.59% 1 comment
09/01/2009 page 63
10.68% "It's early but I already really like Lisbeth! She rocks!"
09/02/2009 page 275
46.61% "I feel like I very rarely go gaga over best sellers like this, but wow--I've suddenly found myself resentful of real life!" 1 comment
02/11/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 69) (69 new)


message 1: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy Hope you like this book! I thought it was great.


Beth F. Me too! My book club is meeting next Tuesday to discuss this one so I don't have much time to read it--I hope I like it. :)


message 3: by Janene (new) - added it

Janene Looking forward to your review on this one, Beth. :)


Beth F. I loved it! I've already started compiling a mental list of people I can start recommending it to.


message 5: by Janene (new) - added it

Janene Love your review, Beth (I am MN born and raised too..). I will be reading it. Thanks!


message 6: by Nancy (new) - added it

Nancy Great review, Beth! :)


Beth F. It is definitely bizarre and NOT what I was expecting but was very, very entertaining. :)


message 8: by Ladiibbug (last edited Sep 04, 2009 12:00PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ladiibbug Hi Beth ~

Reading your intriguing review of The Girl With The
Dragon Tattoo moved this book from "Eh, Maybe Someday, Interesting Title" to "Definite Slot on Sept/Oct Reading List".

Thanks!


Beth F. I hope you like it--I was definitely surprised by it! This kind of book is not normally my "thing" and it wound up consuming me (maybe because I had no expectations?) I don't know--I'm really looking forward to catching the sequel.


Elizabeth Hi Beth,

I know EXACTLY where you went to school. My brother went too.

We share the same name and the same state, very cool.

Great review. I loved this book, just finished the sequel.




Beth F. It's a small world!

I'm looking forward to the translation of the third book. It's too bad I gave up on learning Swedish after only one semester. I hate waiting. ;)


message 12: by Penny (new)

Penny Jensen Wow, that's quite the review. Don't hold back or anything. Okay, I'm partly Swedish, only we settled in Wisconsin. I expect they were nuts too. My Swedish grandmother was without humour, and very rigid. I grew up afraid of her, but she loved me, and I knew that.

Not sure I want to read the book after that review, but I'll keep it in mind.


Annabel Grinbergs Not knowing a huge deal apart from I like ikea and meatballs I wasn't sure what to expect. Wanted to watch the film but wanted to read book 1st...loved it and agreed 100% with ur review about the book content. I took 3 days to read it. I loved both blomkvist and salander and am already on book two! Genious!


Rhiannon I just finished this book and LOVED it..didn't know the original title was "Men Who Hate Women"...I just watched the swedish version of the movie also and really liked it..


Nadine Doolittle I want to visit Minnesota now.


Scotto Yep, I'm from Minnesota too and am half Swedish (other half German-Polish). I'm enjoying the Swedish flavor very much.

P.S. We're not all crazy....


Kelly Not all Swedish people are nut, I'm heading there in 2 weeks for my 6th visit to see my best friend, who is Swedish, born and raised in Lund. This book doesn't represent Swedes as a group but more the authors wonderful storytelling abilities and his feelings on cruelty to women all over the world, how they are used, abused and taken advantage of because they are "weak". His objective was to show a strong woman, who, despite her many shortcomings in life, was able to take control of a very ugly situation through sheer force of will, intelligence and determination. The Swedish title of this book is actually "Men who hate Women" but they felt it would be too "harsh" for the American market. I read all three books in this trilogy a few years ago and find them all amazing. The movies are excellent too (the Swedish version, not the American version that I'm sure will be screwed up). This trip to Sweden will take me to Stockholm and I'm excited to look up a few of the key places mentioned in some of the books :)


Digitalenviromentalist Maybe they are nuts but beautiful Swedish women! I did enjoy thee hospitality of the Swedish people during my visit in Nov 2003 and looking forward to see the country again in the near future.


message 19: by Lady (new) - rated it 1 star

Lady I didn't view Lisbeth as "strong," more like shattered and so vulnerable that she couldn't bear to let anyone in. Quite a bit different from strong - if she were emotionally not so vulnerable, she would be able to let people in and have healthy, normal (...i say "normal" with an ironic quirk of the mouth) relationships, both platonic and sexual. She doesn't even have a healthy relationship with herself, or sex, or... anything, really. If anything, she personified what happens when your defenses are completely shattered and you have no choice but to retreat behind very high walls. I suppose you could argue that the walls represent strength, but I just don't see it that way.


message 20: by Kaitlin (new)

Kaitlin i wont to read this really bad what is the book about


message 21: by Heather (new) - added it

Heather Moms born in Minnesota..also I'm half Swedish. So, I gotcha. Be considering this more than I was before, so thank you. (:


message 22: by Pat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pat I am of Swedish heritage and did visit one summer. Stayed with cousins and toured the sights. Loved it. Loved the book. And I had no idea there was an original title. It was great...but probably not the media grabber that the American title is. We seem to think "Men Who Hate Women" would have to be some hack shrink diatribe.


Danielle They actually changed the title? Damn, always trying to appeal to the North Americans and censoring everything. Lame.


Victoria wonderful review! I love it! I wish I could hunker down for a week in Blomkvist's cabin!


Kagama-the Literaturevixen I feel like Ive lived a very sheltered life if this is all going on in Sweden ;) *is swedish*


Brian Green Ofcourse .... So much in that book wrapped in one


Beth F. My goodness. I haven't been on the comment page for this book since 2009 so I've been missing out on all this discussion about the motherland.

And now I think this review may actually have garnered more comments than the filthy tirade I wrote for The Book Thief. Huh.


Kagama-the Literaturevixen Beth F. wrote: "My goodness. I haven't been on the comment page for this book since 2009 so I've been missing out on all this discussion about the motherland.

And now I think this review may actually have garn..."


I will go and check it out ;)


Daniel Whittaker brilliant review :D


Melissa | BookBFF I never finished this one because it was due to the library and I couldn't renew it. I do want to get back to it some day, but I already saw the movie so I'm debating just skipping to the second book. Is that a bad idea?


Eileen Yeah, look at Betty White's character on Golden Girls LOL Only kidding, I love Betty White.


James The first line of your review made me laugh!


Michele Maliano Beth, FYI - humans are nuts! And, since Swedes are human, you are right.


Julie Greenspan Hi to Beth F. & anyone else who was surprised by The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Positive and other comments are welcome. Mainly I want to know if you read any sequels & why? If your answer is "yes" then how did they compare with "1st book, in your opinion? That's a lot of questions so please don't feel compelled to answer more than one...unless you want to add insights or other comments. Between Jobs, families or dating, errands & other obligations, how do you find the time? I'm retired but made the mistake of buying an I-Pad. I'd hate to admitt how much time I waste on designs & games. Thanks!
Julie G or Jiouxleigh.


Hanne I agree, the English title is just so random, like the whole story is just about Lisbet Salander...


message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

Great review and right on target IMO.


David Schwinghammer Wow! Actually there are more German descendants than Scandos, but that's changing the subject. I absolutely loved Lisbeth, the magazine guy not so much. I wonder if the relatives will ever get together and publish the fourth book.

Dave


message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

David wrote: "Wow! Actually there are more German descendants than Scandos, but that's changing the subject. I absolutely loved Lisbeth, the magazine guy not so much. I wonder if the relatives will ever get toge..."

I didn't like the magazine guy either. I thought he was a slime pit.


message 39: by Juli (last edited Dec 24, 2013 04:23PM) (new)

Juli Pennock Your review makes me want to read it!

Oh, and I do a killer "Minnesota" accent, oh ya, you becha. (Said accent gleaned in its entirety from WAY too many viewings of Fargo and Drop Dead Gorgeous, two of my favorite movies.)

Edited because, you know, punctuation.


message 40: by lang (new)

lang It's so true Swedish people are nuts. I love in Sweden so I know how we are hahaha


message 41: by [deleted user] (new)

Angelica wrote: "It's so true Swedish people are nuts. I love in Sweden so I know how we are hahaha"

Probably due to the fact its so "dark" there. I get Seasonal Affective Disorder every fall. Ever had that?


message 42: by Natasa (new) - added it

Natasa Love your review :) to bad I gave up on the book...can't remember why, I think the story was going to slow for me, but now I think I'll give it another try. And yes, I as well HATE bad book/movie name traslations! I come from Croatia and there is a load of bad movie translations, I just hate that...not too mention the books (luckily the last 5-10 years I've been reading paperbacks in English and I have my dearest Kindle almost 4 years :))


message 43: by Benny (new) - rated it 1 star

Benny Yacobi Beth, what's the connection between your opinion about the Swedish people and writing a relevant review about the book?? People are coming to this website in order to know whether to read a specific book and not to know your prejudices about specific nation...


isabella kaleigh head FUCK YOU FUCKING BITCH! HAVE SEX WITH ME ;-# SUCK MY DICK!AS WHOLE


message 45: by Benny (new) - rated it 1 star

Benny Yacobi isabella kaleigh head wrote: "FUCK YOU FUCKING BITCH! HAVE SEX WITH ME ;-# SUCK MY DICK!AS WHOLE"

Benny wrote: "Isabella, By your "awesome" language, you were grown up in the family of distress. I'm sorry for you. Maybe in your next life you will have better luck."


message 46: by Benny (new) - rated it 1 star

Benny Yacobi isabella kaleigh head wrote: "FUCK YOU FUCKING BITCH! HAVE SEX WITH ME ;-# SUCK MY DICK!AS WHOLE"

Isabella, By your "awesome" language, you were grown up in the family of distress. I'm sorry for you. Maybe in your next life you will have better luck


message 47: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten Rodning I, too, come from a nearly pure Swedish/Norwegian/Minnesotan bloodline and I concur. Swedish people are crazy. I'm looking forward to reading this book after reading your review.


message 48: by Natasa (new) - added it

Natasa isabella kaleigh head wrote: "FUCK YOU FUCKING BITCH! HAVE SEX WITH ME ;-# SUCK MY DICK!AS WHOLE"

Btw, asshole is being writen like this :D


David Schwinghammer Kristen, Sorry about the above. Thought you'd like to know about a new sitcom produced by Amy Poehler. Her brother is in it, but she appears occasionally herself.
Anyway, her brother's character moves to Sweden and has trouble adjusting. It's a big hit in Sweden; unfortunately, like "Fargo" there are only ten episodes
so far.


message 50: by Beth F. (last edited Dec 29, 2014 07:59AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Beth F. What in the sam hill is going on with the comments, people?!? HAHA! This is what I get for ignoring notifications for too long.

The internet is full of freaks. :)


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