Monday, September 15, 2014

Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo

After finishing 1984 I had a simple goal for my next book: find one that doesn't give me nightmares. Is that too much to ask? I clicked over to the popular fiction section at our library's eBooks collection and went hunting for my next book. I saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (TGWTDT) by Steig Larsson was available. That book was popular, wasn't it? I decided to give it a try.

Alas, I failed: while TGWTDT was quite readable, it was also quite disturbing (though in a different way then 1984).

Everything about TGWTDT seems to be taken to the extreme. There's extreme violence (especially against women). Extreme revenge. Extreme closure. Even the plot is detailed to extreme. Is this a book about the ethics of the publishing world? A women trying to struggle against society's norms? A love story? A hunt for a murderer? A cold case mystery? A tale of corporate greed and excess? Yes. Steig Larsson, like Eric Larson apparently can't help but include intense detail in his books. This makes for a story that's a little tedious to get into, but once I was hooked, I couldn't put it down.

It's odd, I've still got mixed feelings about the book as to whether I liked it or not. I certainly found some of the plot lines riveting, and I suppose the thoroughness of the character development worked for me. At first, all the Swedish names and places through me off, but by the end of the book, I had most of it sorted out. But, I'm bothered by how cliche some of book turned out to be. And there's no denying it, the book was too brutal for my tastes (it did have the original title Men Who Hate Women, which shows where the book's head is at.)

In the end, I'll chalk this up to a book I enjoyed but wouldn't recommend. And I made the mistake of watching the movie trailer; yeesh. I should have known better. I had images of all the characters in my head, and I didn't need to corrupt them with Hollywood's interpretation of the book. (Not to mention, how could you possibly pack a book of this ridiculous scope into one movie? And why would you bother to try?).

I will say that it gives me hope that Larrson's trilogy is a best seller. This is anything but a quick read, and to know that people stick with it gives me hope in society.

Still, one book from the trilogy will be enough, thank you very much.

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