The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (read December 11, 2015)
People have been raving about this book ever since its publication in 2008, with another spike in popularity around the time it was adapted into a movie. Finding this book for a dollar at a thrift store seemed like fate, and I quickly added it to the small stack of books I was carting to college with me. I had obviously heard of the book, but didn’t know much about it until I saw trailers for the movie. Even then, I can’t remember any specific plot revealed in it, only that the main characters were a small, intense girl and an older, less severe man.
The beginning of the book was nothing I had come to expect. A man, Mikael Blomvkist, is convicted of libel for a financial journalism article he had written. In another line, Lisbeth Salander is introduced, hired by a wealthy industrialist to do a private investigation on Blomvkist. This was a stark contrast to the dark, action-filled novel I had thought this would be.
While the plots of these two characters continues to develop, they seem very independent for a large portion of the beginning of the book. It is not until about halfway into the novel that the two even meet. Because of this, I felt as if Larsson waited a long time until the story really picked up. It is the chemistry of these two characters that bring the novel to life and give it the unique quality that the book is known for.
The plot about Harriet Vanger, a girl who disappeared nearly 40 years prior and is assumed to have been murdered, is also very interesting; but as Blomkvist was slow to progress past background information, it seemed that way to the reader as well. This story definitely took some twists and turns, keeping the reader very engaged. This was one of my favorite aspects of the book, because after a while, I stopped trying to anticipate what was going to happen, allowing me want to get through the book faster and staying up very late because of it.
Originally published in Sweden, the book’s title was “Men who Hate Women.” Each section of this book is prefaced with an epigraph containing a shocking statistic about violence towards women in Sweden. This is heartbreaking, and I really want to compare these facts with other countries, such as the US. The theme of this epidemic is present in the story, and really illustrates how societies make excuses for these events and behaviors, how the victims are shut up, and how people are so messed up that they think this is okay. It made me more passionate about this problem, and I’m very glad it did, because these should not be commonplace occurrences that get glossed over, they should be regarded with extreme disgust and repulsion.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5