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Side Reads > "The Girl who Played with Fire (Millennium, #2)" by Stieg Larsson

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message 1: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (last edited Sep 03, 2010 10:09AM) (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
Members of Lunch Cafe Libri, , Yahoo Cafe Libri and Shelfari Cafe Libri wanted a side-read of The Girl Who Played with Fire for September, 2010. This thread is for discussions pertaining to that novel. Members can also discuss this book at the Cafe Libri Shelfari Discussion Thread.

message 2: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) I'm going to try and remember to post some thoughts on this book at both sites (here and Shelfari) once I get started on it. I'm hoping to begin the book next week. I want to get a little further in Ivanhoe before I start another read.

message 3: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
Aerin wrote: "I'm going to try and remember to post some thoughts on this book at both sites (here and Shelfari) once I get started on it."

Yeah, I will probably do double posts myself to try and encourage members to participate in our side discussion. :D

message 4: by Cari (last edited Sep 29, 2010 01:26PM) (new)

Cari (carikinney) I'll be taking this one kind of slow because of focusing more on the book selections that members voted on over at Cafe Libri and Booksamonth. Having said that, I did start the book. I got through the Prologue and part of Chapter 1. Here's some comments thus far:

What a punch the Prologue packs right away! A young girl, 13 years old, on her 43rd day of imprisonment and she's in restraints on a bed. It's her 13th birthday. She kicks her captor when he comes in and touches her face. She fantasizes about strength, a gasoline can, striking a match. What an awful but powerful opening to the book. There are no names mentioned, but I suspect we've glimpsed a bit of Lisbeth Salander's past and are just now getting a hint at why she is the way she is in the present. I don't think anyone could go through something like that and not carry some damage.

Chapter 1 (back to the present), Lisbeth is island hopping in the Caribbean, and although it's the off-season and the hotel is only 1/3 full, her room is next door to a couple with some suspicious activity. For 4 nights, Lisbeth has heard cries, voices, slaps, muted terror and heard arguments. The woman next door looks American, about 35, southern accent. But what's going on with her and the guy she's with (husband?). I suspect Lisbeth is going to look into it. Being an abuse victim herself, I can't picture her leaving the situation alone since it seems it is the woman in that room getting hit. And I'm just wondering in general why Lisbeth is in Caribbean. Is she just taking a vacation? Needed time alone? She recently took up an interest in spherical astronomy, bought some books in the Florida Keys about it, and then went island hopping. Meanwhile Blomkvist is wondering where she is and what happened to her. He finds her absent from her apartment and is irritated and depressed to not know where she is. They have a very strange relationship, if you want to call it that. I'm still not clear on what they see in one another. For Lisbeth, it's possibly a small measure of trust in someone of the opposite gender, but she's still pretty detached in many ways. No clue what Blomkvist sees in this damaged young woman beyond her intelligence and incredible computer hacking skills. What's there emotionally? Reading on....

message 5: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
Aerin wrote: "I'll be taking this one kind of slow because of focusing more on the book selections that members voted on over at Cafe Libri and Booksamonth. Having said that, I did start the book. I got throug..."

I just started the book myself. I will probably be taking it slow too even though I'm not going to read a lot of the other books that have been winning in the other book groups. I've just been busy with a lot of stuff happening in real life.

I agree with you about the Prologue. It did have quite the punch! I didn't think that the girl was necessarily 13 years old, though. I'm wondering if the man who kidnapped her is deluding himself into thinking she is...setting her up for some sort of sick fantasy/history from his youth. I'm just not sold on the details yet.

I think Lisbeth is traveling to escape Blomkvist. Their relationship didn't end well at the end of Book 1. She was pissed at him. Probably just needed an emotional break from him. Considering that he is still visiting her place 1x a week, if she didn't travel, how would she have avoided him? I'm almost done with chapter 1, so maybe I can post more thoughts when I get further along.

message 6: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) I just finished chapter 2 (yep, still going at a snail's pace with this one, lol). If you've read chapter 2 already, check out the rest of my post. If not, you can read it later as I don't want to spoil anything.
******* spoilers *********
After reading this chapter, I'm still leaning towards the Prologue indicating the young 13 yo girl was Lisbeth. Bjurman is digging into every bit of information he can find about her and now he comes across these notebooks that were kept by her former guardian. The notebooks refer to something that happened to her right about that time -- age 12-13 -- and he only refers to it as "All The Evil". I still have a feeling that something horrible happened to her under his care and will be a big part in what she became afterwards. Also interesting to find out she has a twin! I hope we get to find out in this book where she is, what she's like, and what she's doing. I don't like all the things that Lisbeth does, but I can't help but feel bad for her sometimes because of whatever trauma she's carrying around inside (including the abuse from the latest guardian, Bjurman). I wonder if it's too much to hope that maybe she will find her twin someday. Reading on....

message 7: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod

I've read up to chapter 2 as well.


A lot of aspects about this book is more engaging than the first one. The beginning is moving faster, and I'm enjoying the twists.

I was surprised that Lisbeth got breast implants, and I also find the mathematical theme both intriguing and puzzling. I keep wondering where they will take this throughout the entire book.

You could be right about Lisbeth being the girl in the prologue...that or her sister Camilla. I'm a bit disappointed that Larsson brought in a twin, seems a bit contrived as far as a plot twist goes. Still, Larsson is a good writer, so I'm sure he will take it somewhere. I'm guessing the twin won't come into play until the 3rd book since I've read the jacket flap about what this book concerns.

I'm assuming the "All The Evil" refers to the man that Bjurman is contacting as an alley against Lisbeth. She must have witnessed something horrible as a child, and the man suffered for it. If we are basing it off the prologue, then it has something sexually deviant to the crime.

I can't believe this guy Bjurman. He has sealed his own death sentence I'm sure. Once Lisbeth finds out what he is doing, she won't hesitate to kill him.

Lisbeth reminds me of an "anti-heroine" character. She does villainous or bad actions, yet we identify with her. Wikipedia describes it as follows:

"...Antiheroine as feminine) is generally considered to be a protagonist whose character is at least in some regards conspicuously contrary to that of the archetypal hero, and is in some instances its antithesis. Some consider the word's meaning to be sufficiently broad as to additionally encompass the antagonist, who (in contrast to the archetypal villain), elicits considerable sympathy or admiration."

I'm surprised by Lisbeth's relationship with the young teenage boy in Grenada. I wonder if he is going to suffer for having known and slept with her. I keep imagining he will end up dead. Seems odd that she has attached herself to someone so young. After her affair with Blomkvist I guess she wanted someone younger rather than older.

Looking forward to the rest of this book. I'll also be finishing up The Hunger Games soon too.

message 8: by Cari (last edited Nov 23, 2010 07:13PM) (new)

Cari (carikinney) Good point, Adrianna. I can definitely see Lisbeth as an anti-heroine. Sometimes I'm stunned at the things she does, and yet I can almost understand why she feels the need to do them.

**** ch 2 spoilers ****

I was a little surprised by her taking a teenage lover, but it seemed like she was wanting to ease into letting someone see her naked with her new breasts. Taking a young guy who was sexually inexperienced allowed her to feel that she wouldn't be judged about her new looks because what did the guy really have to base his judgment on? LOL I think that was why she seduced him. It was a way for her to get comfortable in her "new skin" with someone who didn't know any better, but yeah, who knows what he will be thinking now that she just took off without a goodbye. I don't think she was ever attached to him. She was friends with him, but I didn't see anything real deep there. He served a purpose for her and she seems to be good at doing that even though we can question the morals (or lack of) behind it.

I thought the twin seemed contrived too. I don't recall any mention of it in the first book. I recently saw the movie for this book. Usually I don't like watching the movie before the book, but Netflix has it on Instant viewing and I wanted to catch it before they removed it. I could tell right away they changed a number of things. The movie doesn't mention the twin at all. They must have felt it seemed too contrived also, LOL. And the teenage boy is not in the movie at all either. No mention of him whatsoever.

I don't like anything at all about Bjurman and I'm sure that's the point. His character is despicable. You can tell he absolutely hates Lisbeth having the upper hand with him right now. I can't wait to see how that all plays out. Even though I've seen the movie, I don't know how well the rest of it matches up to the book yet, so I might still be in for some surprises with the reading.

I'm on Ch 6 right now and will post some more thoughts later on. :)

message 9: by Adrianna, Owner of Cafe Libri (new)

Adrianna (adriannas) | 529 comments Mod
Aerin wrote: "Good point, Adrianna. I can definitely see Lisbeth as an anti-heroine. Sometimes I'm stunned at the things she does, and yet I can almost understand why she feels the need to do them.

**** ch ..."

SPOILERS for Chapter 2


Good point about the young lover. I didn't consider that angle. I sometimes find it odd that she is so insecure. She always strikes me as the type of girl who would flip you off and say "so what?" but underneath that thick hide she's rather vulnerable. I want to see a male protagonist highlighted as being vulnerable rather than the female ones, which is how authors typically "gender" their characters.

Yeah, the twin was not mentioned nor hinted at in book 1. Seems strange that they didn't mention the twin for this book's movie. I wonder if that means the plot twist won't be a major detail in book 2. Perhaps Larsson is saving a lot of it for book 3.

I've taken a minor break on the read because of school applications. I'll be sure to hold off reading your later comments until I'm caught up with the reading. I also still need to submit the voting lists and update all the's been a busy month!

message 10: by Cari (last edited Jan 16, 2011 05:22PM) (new)

Cari (carikinney) Yes, Lisbeth seems vulnerable despite the hard exterior she shows to almost everyone. Here's some more thoughts.

**** SPOILERS **** Through Chapter 6 ****

I posted earlier that I thought Lisbeth's isolation and anti-social behavior may have been due to what she went through with her guardian. I may take that back now. In Chapter 5 there's a bit of info about her twin Camilla. Lisbeth compared herself to Camilla at a very young age. Camilla was the social, outgoing and beautiful one. Lisbeth was always quiet, withdrawn and no one wanted to be around her, not even her sister. Lisbeth feels her genetic code was messed up or she would have been likeable and beautiful like her mother and Camilla. That's quite sad, but it reveals more about Lisbeth's personality.

I rolled my eyes in Chapter 6 finding out that Blomkvist is sleeping with Harriet Vanger! Gosh, who doesn't he sleep with? Looks like they are going to stick with the reputation of him being a ladies' man. Seems like no one else knows about his relationship with Vanger even though they only get together every 3 months because she's always traveling and working. I wonder if he's still sleeping with Erika Berger, too? I can't stand these types of male characters.

We get a look at Lisbeth's odd association with Mimmi, her lesbian lover. I hesitate to call it a relationship because they don't seem to have typical feelings for one another that I can tell. Like the boy, George Bland, Mimmi is also someone that Lisbeth left behind without a goodbye. She just disappeared on her for 18 months and never said she was leaving or when she'd be back. Then she comes back to Mimmi like nothing happened and wants to know if Mimmi will sleep with her again. Strange. I guess she's lucky someone tries to understand her odd behavior or else she'd be alone. Mimmi seems a little messed up herself. She's older than Lisbeth and has some sort of relationship going on with an older married woman in the suburbs and she takes Lisbeth back anyway. These unions are confusing and they seem very lonely and empty.

Lisbeth also copies Armansky's hard drive to see what Milton Security has been up to during the year she was gone traveling. I wonder why she wants to know what her old boss has been doing? Is she just bored or is it something more?

message 11: by Cari (new)

Cari (carikinney) More thoughts on the book.

**** SPOILERS **** Through Chapter 16

I'm about halfway through the book and so far am enjoying the chase and the mystery. Lisbeth is wanted in connection with three murders and her face is plastered on the newspapers. Now, of course, most readers aren't going to believe she had anything to do with the murders, so part of the anticipation of the chapters to come is wanting to find out how Lisbeth will clear her name and who really shot the three victims.

I like that Blomkvist and Armansky have the tiniest doubts about how well they really know Lisbeth. They know she's introverted and private, but they begin to wonder what they might not know about her, especially Blomkvist because he was unaware of her juvenile record and guardianship.

I also enjoyed that we got to see a softer side of Lisbeth in this book with her visit to her old guardian, Palmgren, and taking over the cost of getting the best care for him at the nursing home. It shows that Lisbeth can put her feelings out there and focus on someone besides herself most of the time.

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