Home > Books > Dragon Tattooed Girl – Don’t Believe The Hype

Dragon Tattooed Girl – Don’t Believe The Hype

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Don't believe the hype!

Have you ever finished reading a book and thought to yourself – “If I had known from the start what I know now after reading it, I probably wouldn’t have read it in the first place?” That is how I felt about the Stieg Larsson book “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.” The only thing I knew going in was that it was a book about a murder and there was a computer hacker involved in some way. First off, this book was by no means an easy read – the author is from Sweden and the spelling he used as well as the character names were alone enough to give me a headache. Add the fact that there was tons of foul language and a lot of sex (neither of which really added anything to the story in my opinion) and you end up with a book that just made me feel like I needed to take a bath after each read to get rid of the filthy feeling that consumed me.

The premise of the book starts with Mikael Blomkvist (a journalist) being sentenced for libel. Once he is set free, he is hired by Henrik Vanger, a well-to-do retired CEO, to write the history of the Vanger family. Blomkvist later finds out that writing the book is a cover, as Vanger really wants him to solve the mystery of the death of his great niece Harriet. When Blomkvist decides he needs a research assistant, he finds out that Vanger had used a young computer hacker outcast by the name of Lisbeth Salander (the dragon tattooed girl in the title of the book) to do a background check on him. Blomkvist is so impressed with what she found out about him that he hires Salander to help him solve the mystery. Salander has her own problems (including those with her legal guardian who rapes her multiple times). There are many twists and turns through out the book, but the characters feel very one dimensional to me. When Salander sleeps with Blomkvist and then discovers he only wants to see her as a friend and coworker – I just had no sympathy for her…I just wanted to shake her and say “How could you be so stupid to sleep with him?!”

I really wanted to like this book with all the hype that came with it, but I just couldn’t force myself to do it. I think the foundation of the story dealing with  Harriet’s murder/disappearance is well written, but when you throw in all the side stories of Blomkvist sleeping with just about every female with a pulse…it just takes away from the story instead of adding to it. I originally wanted to see the American version of the movie when I started reading the book, but after the first couple of chapters I quickly decided against it. One thing for certain, based on this book alone I will not be reading the other two books in this series.

Photo Credit: By Amazon.com

  1. semicrazed
    March 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    good for you that you didn’t watch the movie…if you already found the book revolting, the explicit scenes would have knocked you out of your seat.
    I guess the English (misleading) title is what makes people expect something different when they start reading this book. The original title is: “Män som hatar kvinnor” which means “Men Who Hate Women”….which is definitely a recurring topic throughout the first book….and the two other books…but I never perceived it as overly explicit.

    And why is it the authors spelling that makes the book hard to read? I have read the book in German and it was well-translated….so I guess they messed up the English translation and as for the Swedish names: are they supposed to change all the names in books from non-English authors to make it easier to read? or the other way round? If they had named Harry Potter “Harry Töpfer” so that Germans wouldn’t have to bother with English surnames they probably couldn’t pronounce? That would have been ridiculous.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to attack you here or something. you expressed your opinion and that’s ok…I just happen to be a die-hard Stieg Larsson fan 🙂 ….so I just had to put in my two cents.

    • March 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      Thank you for your comment. Wow! Yeah, if I had known that was the direct translation of the original title of the book I definitely wouldn’t have read it. Let me clarify what I meant – it wasn’t so much the Swedish names, but the spelling of other words (ex. “programme” vs. “program” — there were more extreme examples but I can’t think of a specific one off the top of my head). I definitely agree with you about the character names. It wouldn’t make sense to call him “Michael” when the character’s name is the Swedish version “Mikael” as it takes away from the story taking place in Sweden. I definitely appreciate your two cents, especially since I had never read any of Larsson’s works before this book.

  2. molly
    March 26, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Hey, i think the point of the book was the starkness/darkness. It’s definitly not for every one. And the author was a researcher on right winged extremism. So the book is about that too. As for the names.. the book took place is sweden.. Sweden was a chacter in the book. So, to have changed the names to be more American would of changed the book.
    and all 3 books are very dark. But Lisbeth led a dark life. Raised by a burtal sociopathic father, a mother who only cared what the father thought, and then by a system that did not care about her.

    • March 26, 2012 at 9:36 pm

      Molly, thank you for your comment. I definitely agree with what you said about changing the names. These books are definitely not for everyone – I would be evidence of that fact! (c:

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