Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I have been meaning to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for the past two years or so. Finally this summer with casting of the American movie and discussion of the novel reaching fever pitch, I decided it was time to finally pick up the novel and see what all of the fuss was about.

The book is a riveting read that I had a hard time putting down. I spent half of the night reading it on our camping trip instead of sleeping. And I’m pregnant and I like to sleep!

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a mystery set in Sweden. Mikael Blomkvist is a financial journalist that has found himself convicted wrongly of libel and is trying to figure out how to salvage his career. At this point, a mysterious elder of a rich Swedish business empire, Henrik Vanger offers Mikael a substantial amount of money and information to redeem himself if Mikael will assist with the forty-year old mystery of Henrik’s Great Niece Harriet’s disappearance. Mikael soon finds himself wrapped up in the secrets of the Vanger family and on the trail of a killer.

Lisbeth Salander is a 24-year old social misfit that is a genius at finding out information about people. She joins Mikael on his search and the two are unstoppable. Lisbeth has her own set of values and it would behoove one to not to wrong her.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had a lot of sexual violence in it, which I usually do not like to read about. But somehow the story and the characters made the story so compelling that I couldn’t stop reading it. Mikael and Lisbeth are unique characters unlike anything else I’ve read. I love Lisbeth’s punk attitude and her ability to survive and come out on top of any situation. Mikael’s ability to be a crusader and to try to right the wrongs of this world was very appealing, although his casual love affairs annoyed me at times. The setting in Sweden was also unique and intriguing in its own right. I love reading books that are set in different places.

SPOILER ALERT!! The only thing I disliked was that Mikael and Lisbeth became casual lovers. I thought they worked better as a team that respected one another, but didn’t cross that boundary. I did like that it was Lisbeth’s decision, but still, I didn’t like it over all. SPOILER END.

I have been thinking a lot about this book since I finished it. It is disturbing to think how scary the world is for a woman alone trying to make her way in the world.

Overall, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a non-stop, unique thriller that will keep you up into the night. I highly recommend it, but do want to put it out there that it has disturbing scenes of sexual violence in the novel.

Book Source: The Kewaunee Public Library


  1. Great review, Laura. I read this in 2009 and just recently saw the movie. I was afraid to witness the depiction of the violence in the movie, and it was hard to watch at times.

  2. I have this book. It has been sitting on my piano all summer just staring at me...or I should say...I have been staring at it. I think, after reading your review, I should really read this book this month. Your high recommendation has me wondering why I have waited. Hmmm... Anyhow, perfect timing as I am ready to start a new book next week.

    Oh...I hastily skipped over your spoiler alert since I am going to read the book soon.

  3. I loved the whole series - so sad there is no more except for the quasi maybe 4th book, definitely the characters have stayed with me. The first book in the series is my favorite.

  4. Excellent review of a totally compelling book! Lisbeth is definitely going to be a female character who stands the test of time.

  5. My mom just finished this--I was really surprised that the sexual violence in it didn't seem to bother her either. She had the same overall reaction to the book as you did. I can't wait for her to lend me her copy!

  6. Good review. :) I recently picked this book up but haven't started reading it yet. Seems to be pretty hyped as it's pretty big even outside of my home country, so I'm not sure. Will be interesting to read a Swedish book in English!

  7. Laura your review was great! I have talked to some people who had a hard time sticking with all of the development of the story, but surprisingly I didn't have a hard time with it. I guess I was just enjoying it too much to think about it. I believe the pay-off was worth it. I just finished book two and LOVED IT WAY MORE! There's much more action and suspensse in the second book. I think you'll love it too! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'll have my review next week for TGWPWF, so please stop back by!

  8. I'm pregnant and like to sleep too ;) It's really hampered my reading.
    I know I need to read this one but haven't found the time yet.