The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson

Hey, look at me, catching up to pop culture circa two years ago! Three? Regardless! I am SO AWESOME.

Or something.

So ba-hasically, I avoided this book and its friends like the plague when they were all popular and stuff originally, but then they made a movie and now they’re making another movie and while I probably won’t watch either of them I sort of feel like I need to actually be able to converse in Stieg Larsson. See also: that time I read Twilight and then made my friend summarize the rest of the series for me.

Hey, anyone want to summarize the rest of this series for me?

In case you are like me from a week ago, here’s the gist of this first book: There’s a dude, and he’s a journalist, and he does a bad-journalist thing and publishes some libel, and then he gets a big fine and a jail sentence. Then, a very rich dude decides to pay the journalist dude a zillion dollars ostensibly to write the rich dude’s biography slash family history but actually to solve the murder of the rich dude’s… crap, let me go check the convenient family tree provided by Larsson… the rich dude’s grandniece, whose body disappeared under mysterious circumstances like forty years ago. Oh, to be a rich dude.

Meanwhile, there’s a chick, and she’s a sort of background checker slash private investigator slash hacker who is very very good at digging up dirt on people. She gets hired by the rich dude to investigate the journalist dude, and she does a good job, and then we find out that holy heck does she have some issues and HOLY HECK can she take care of herself regardless of said issues, holy heck, and then she ends up working with the journalist dude to solve the murder mystery and then another mystery besides.

That’s the basic plot, anyway. The HOLY HECK parts another big point of the story, and since Larsson throws in a lot of statistics and information on sexual assault of women, I think you can figure out what those parts might look like. This book is not for the squeamish. It can in fact be quite uncomfortable.

I’m not really sure what Larsson was going for with this novel. I mean, it’s pretty obvious that he was trying to make a Statement about violence against women, but this Statement is very uneven, what with the squicky parts and then the rest of the novel that basically pretends the squicky parts didn’t happen. And then of course there’s another point in there about Rich People and their propensity to be Horrible People too, and the awfulness of closed communities, and also how corporate espionage is bad stuff. So… yay? I learned things?

But Larsson did know what he was doing in the engaging writing department; even though I wasn’t totally onboard with this book I stayed up past midnight (shut up that’s WAY past my bedtime) glued to the pages as the mystery unraveled. And even when I got to the ending and was like, “Well, yeah, I saw that coming,” I was still also like, “But man, he did a good job bringing it here.” I can see how this ended up on many a beach in its prime.

Recommendation: It’s a brain-candy thriller, except for the unpleasantness. I’ll let you do your own math on it.

Rating: 6/10
(Global Reading Challenge)

2 thoughts on “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson

  1. Cari says:

    I can summarize the rest of the series if you want. I enjoyed the first one enough to read the next two. And they are worth reading – I enjoyed them more than I did the first one. But it's up to you. I didn't LOVE them like Carol does, but they were good reading, and pretty essential for a librarian these days. Kind of like the Twilight thing.

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