I live in New York City and I'm surrounded by books all day and when I go home I have more books waiting for me. Read my "About" page on top to see what I mean. I just want to share my book experiences and my love of all-things-books, with hopefully the occasional review thrown in. If you wish to contact me, the address is polishoutlanderATgmailDOTcom

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption.

Another one of those books that once you read it, makes you say, “What else can be said about it that hasn’t been said already?” Well here’s what I have to say about it anyway:

And in case you didn’t know, the original title of the book is “Men Who Hate Women.” And when you read it, it does make sense. But I guess the original title would have been too off-putting for us sensible folks overseas.

Oh, and Stieg Larsson had an outline for TEN books! TEN! Now there’s a whole hubbub about his 4th book.

I thought I would never read this, because I’m not into mysteries or crime novels. But this is something different. There is a study in character. And that character is Lisbeth.

Just like everyone told me, the beginning is a bit slow. But it is setup. You need to know the background to Mikael, and especially Lisbeth. And there is a critical moment in the story (around the time the two meet), when you really have a hard time putting the book down. There would be long stretches in the beginning before you even got a glimpse of Lisbeth, and when you did, you didn’t want to look away. Granted, there was a scene with her that did make you want to look away. And some might wonder what the point of that scene was. But there is a reason for writing and including such a scene. As brutal as that scene it, what follows gives you insight into Lisbeth’s character, and how she operates and how she thinks. I was told at book club that that scene comes back in a way in the second book.

Yes, this was our book club pick for the summer. A small group of us at work get together to read adult books, since we all work with childrens’ books in one way or another (design, production, editorial, marketing), so this is a nice change of pace. And this was one of the books that we’ve all been meaning to read.

One thing thing that got brought up was when Lisbeth and Mikael finally meet in person. It was mentioned that what happened was very out-of-character for Lisbeth. She was too welcoming and too nice (if “nice” is even the right word to use) to such a stranger. And when I thought about it, I agreed. Here’s how they meet in a quick nutshell: Mikael discovers that Lisbeth hacked into his computer (and found out his life story) and goes to her apartment to ask for her help in the murder case. And she doesn’t react the way you would think Lisbeth would react: which is slamming him against a wall and throwing him out the door.

(Why the heck am I talking in the second-person?)

As the lunch date for book club drew nearer, my friend and I realized we were the only ones who hadn’t finished the book. So we spent a lunch outside in the sun catching up. I stopped at the end of one chapter (I was further along than she was) and said, “Ok, this is a good a place as any to stop until I start reading again on the subway.” I knew that if I continued onto the next chapter, I probably would have snuck out to continue reading. What scene/chapter did I stop at? The one where Mikael is in the basement. That’s all I’m saying.

I have to say, that even though this first book had a good solid ending, I still want to know more about Lisbeth and Mikael. My friend ordered her copy of the second book on Wednesday, got it on Thursday, finished it over the weekend and already ordered the third. I’m still waiting a bit. I guess I want to read something I own first before I go out and get more books.

So what am I getting at, with all this rambling? This was a good solid and structured story. Structured? Yes. Beginning with setup. Middle with all the who-dunits. End with the crime being solved. Because in the end, it was a good mystery novel. In the end, the mystery is solved. In the end, Mikael’s story also ends. And in the end, you do have an ending. There doesn’t need to be another book. I was very surprised how caught up in the story I was actually. Because this wasn’t the type of book I would have ever really read right away, I think that is why I had some low expectations. But, this more than a mystery novel. I got so wrapped up in Lisbeth and Mikael as characters, that I sort of forgot that this was a crime/mystery novel to begin with. So would I recommend it? Up and down, YES!

When I log in and look at Bookscan and the numbers the three editions have sold, it just boggles the mind. Even the audiobook sale numbers are quite impressive. So here’s another hyped up book that truly blew me away.

And now for the movie. Haven’t watched it yet. But it’s on Netflix Instant! Going to have Josh watch it with me. I don’t have the patience to wait for him to read it, especially since he just started another massive book (American Gods).  So I leave you with the movie trailer:

4 comments to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

  • I’m actually reading this right now. I’m only on the second page though so I haven’t made any impressions yet. Thanks for the great review… I will try to be patient with this book at first now knowing that it will speed up after all the development.

    Oooh! I have Netflix Instant too. Maybe I’ll watch it as well if I end up liking the book. ;)

  • Shweta

    I just love this series.Atleast both the books that I have read already. I have acquired the third book but yet to read it. :) I wish he had written a few more..

  • Though I keep hearing people talk about reading this book I have never actually read anything about it and didn’t know what it was about at all. Didn’t know it was mystery/crime. This makes me much more interested, I was sure it was some boring ol historical novel! Crime is MUCH more exciting!

  • I almost never say this, but–

    I liked the movie more than the book. Yup, sure did! I got bogged down in the book, but they cut out all the stuff I didn’t like and got right to the heart of the story in the movie. And Noomi Rapace is perfect as Salander. I would hate to be the English-speaking actress trying to follow up on her performance.

    I did like the second book a lot more and am impatiently waiting for the third to come in for me at the library.