This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I have been wanting to read this book from the moment I first saw the cover. Do I have to say why?

I decided to finally tackle it and after seeing that I placed 900-and-something on the Wake County library waiting list, I decided to purchase it for myself. I couldn't read it right away due to other book-reading obligations, so Tim gave it a try but gave up after about 100 pages. I heard from a couple of other friends that they had a hard time getting into it, so I was concerned, since the novel is over 600 pages.

Fortunately for me, I had no problem getting into it. After reading The Secret History, nothing seemed that long-winded. I enjoyed every bit of the article and found it pertinent in learning about all the personalities involved.

Lisbeth Salander is, in fact, the girl with the dragon tattoo. In the novel, she has several tattoos (and piercings), one being a dragon over her shoulder. Coincidentally, this was my first dragon, before covering the rest of my torso with a bigger dragon. In the movie, which I watched after I finished the novel, Lisbeth has a much bigger, gray-washed (like mine) tattoo covering her back...not quite as nice as mine, but pretty damn cool, nonetheless.

Okay, back to the book...

Lisbeth is a 24 year old anti-social ward of the government of Sweden. This means she has a guardian that watches over her financial situation, to assess whether she is capable of taking care of herself on her own. She has been a problem "child" from years before, and while she strikes a kinship with her guardian, she soon finds herself in the hands of a new guardian, after the previous one becomes an invalid due to a stroke.

This is a very cruel and obscene relationship. And this is what the gist of this novel is about: not only Lisbeth's horrific encounters with her new guardian, but how women, in general, are abused in Sweden. Each section of parts of the novel includes a quote regarding the statistics of abuse that happens to women in Sweden.

In fact, the novel's title in Sweden is translated to: Men Who Hate Women.

Ironic as Stieg Larsson does an amazing job writing about strong women, despite the center being vicious crimes against women.

Lisbeth is strong woman #1. A tough cookie who can hack any computer anywhere and has a photogenic memory. She works for a security firm and can find everything and anything on any person.

The main female victim is Harriet Vanger, a 16 year old girl who disappeared in 1966. Her rich, industrialist uncle Henrik hires Mikael Blomkvist, a financial reporter recently convicted of libel, to investigate her disappearance...under the guise of writing a biography of the famous (or infamous) Vanger family. Mikael is chosen by Henrik because Henrik knew of Mikael's father and because he had read previous work from Mikael and found him to be a good researcher. No one, in over 40 years, has been able to solve the mystery of Harriet's disappearance and assumed murder.

Mikael moves to the small 'rural' town of Hedestat, where most of the Vanger family reside and soon discovers how messed up the Vanger family really is, as Henrik had already told of. Lisbeth joins the force and eventually, a series of sexual abuse, rape, torture and murder of several women come into play, relating to the disappearance of Harriet.

It's a great mystery with a lot of insight to different characters. For me, it was like a really great movie as I tried to figure out who the killer was. Of course, one of my predictions ends up being the right one but certainly, I had no idea how the novel would end.

I loved it and had Tim buy me the next one, The Girl Who Played with Fire. I am debating on whether I attempt to finish HP's Chamber of Secrets or just start on this one.

As I mentioned earlier, I watched the movie last night with Tim. The movie was really good but definitely a lot of departures from the novel. And despite a lengthy novel, there is so much more to attain within the book than what the movie presented, which was a bit disappointing. None of the actors in the roles matched my image of the characters from the novel. I think that's OK. I don't think I will lose those images, as Robert Pattinson did to my beautiful image of Edward Cullen.

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