The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Okay, I did it. I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson. I’ve been putting this off not because it’s long. I can read a thick book with the best of them. It also had nothing to do with the huge buzz surrounding the author. I like a little controversy and gossip behind the minds and creators of fiction. To be quite frank, it was the book cover, front and back. My edition looked so junior high in style and the colophon did not peak my interest at all. Every time I went to pick it up, I cringed and moved to something with a more serious appeal. I may be the only one who was affected this way by the book jacket, but I do stick true to the saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Therefore, it came time to give in to the hype, and I picked it up before my flight to Dallas. I had every intention of reading it on the plane, but if you follow my blog at all, you know that this didn’t happen. So became my literary project this last week and a half: finish The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Here is where I’ll be honest. It was not as astounding for me as people and the media have made it out to be. I got bogged down by all the Swedish names, the financial lingo, and the repetition of scenarios. I would have liked Lisbeth to be a more present force than she already was. Now that is a character a reader can really get into. There were a few times the excessive details and long winded progressions caused me to do a little skimming and I had to reread a couple of the business/banking/journalistic scenarios to really understand plot.

This isn’t to say that I did not enjoy the book. At times it was a real page turner, and Larsson does a fantastic job of keeping the secrets and not being totally obvious. There can be nothing worse than a predictable story, but luckily this wasn’t one. I enjoyed the characters, and their actions were always true to their personalities. The story itself was intriguing, unique, and unlike anything I’ve ever read. The graphic violence, which for some may be off-putting, accomplished what Larsson seemed to be doing: bringing female violence to the forefront, and not disguising it with fluff or superficial writing. I’ve been surprised when reading reviews in which people think Larsson glorifies sex and violence. If only a reader were to take a second to read the statistics placed at the front of each section, they might understand Larsson’s intentions. Also, I should note the Swedish title of this story is “Men Who Hate Women.”

And so, I have read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I will most definitely be finishing the series. I have heard they become easier to read, and the plots quicken in the following stories. Though this first book did not overly impress me, I found myself caught up in the story and characters, and by the end I could not put it down.

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