Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

This month's book club selection is "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". I picked it. I really wanted something to escape with because I have a bit of a reality problem in that it seems like I have a lot of reality going on right now. So, it seemed perfect to escape to Sweden for a nice mystery.

There is a lot of talk going around about this book. The author Stieg Larsson died very suddenly in 2004 and his books were published posthumously. He was, apparently, the second best selling author in the world in 2008 behind Khaled Hosseini.

Initially I didn't really want to read this series; they seemed like a hyped up series, you know, like the Twilight series. And I just don't like to read a lot of things that are mainstream. I'm a snob. You can say it. I'm not offended. But this book intrigued me because several people that I like have read it and they really liked it. I decided to give it a shot.

I bought it on my Nook. And it was so great to read it that way, but that is an aside.

I tore through that book in one week, maybe less. It was great. I have heard that it may take a while to get into because there is some backstory. The main characters don't even meet until half-way through the story.

The story follows two people, one a magazine publisher and writer who is convicted of libel, and the other is a woman who has serious emotional issues and is a brilliant private investigator. He is hired to write a family chronicle for a wealthy old man, solve a mystery of a missing/murdered woman. She is hired by him to help solve the mystery.

Now, I want to warn you: this book contains some very violent situations that won't soon leave my mind.

However, the book is really good. Although the beginning does tend to get weighed down by a bunch of names and characters, once you get into the meat of the story, the introduction of a bunch of random Swedes doesn't really matter and can be forgotten. Probably this means that the author should have edited it down. I couldn't identify with the characters, they were involved in things that I couldn't even imagine doing, and they were in a country that I can not even picture. All things that made it the perfect escape book!

There was one political point in the book that I found absolutely fascinating. The girl in the story was a ward of the state. At an early age she was declared mentally unstable, but functioned enough in society that she was able to have a guardian. This guardian was responsible for the girl's finances, and had weekly meetings to determine how life was going. I just found the whole thing interesting. Socialist yes, but interesting nevertheless.

I can't wait to read the next book in the Millennium series, "The Girl Who Played with Fire". If you can stomach it, I recommend this book!


Kristi said...

Girl--as you and I have already discussed, I also enjoyed this book pick. Yes, the story is extremely disturbing at times, but also complicated. And I agree, at the beginning I was like--ok, so when are all of these separate stories/people going to intersect?!?

At times I was also a little confused by the Swedish geography/language--the book is set in Sweden so all the cities have Swedish names, etc. I think it would be interesting if we discussed the book with someone actually from Sweden and familiar with the people/places mentioned. But, in a way, it sort creates this fantasy world for us (ie, those of us that are not familiar with that part of the world).

Book 2 contains a lot more of the "ward of the state" back story--and how the political scene influences that process--I think you'll find that interesting.

On a side note, I suppose Harry Potter is your exception to "mainstream" reading? :)

Jenn said...

I just finished the third in the trilogy and have read all three books now. It only gets better and the story behind who Lisbeth Salander is just gets deeper and deeper.

chandy said...

I will admit, I've found it to be slow starting. But it's really starting to pick up now, and after reading your review, I'm looking forward to seeing where it takes me.

But I didn't know he died suddenly! I hope these stories wrap up enough to not leave me hanging! (That is a fear of mine with the Outlander series...I really hope she finishes them before any tragic accident. That's a very selfless thought, no?)