Friday, March 12, 2010

Book Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

***This wonderful book review was written by a close friend of mine, JennG.***

This book definitely belongs on my top 10 best reads of all time. It is a richly layered story that takes you in a few different directions, but instead of leaving you confused, you feel hungry for more when you finish. Lucky for you, the author, Steig Larsson, wrote two subsequent novels (sadly, Larsson died in 2004 shortly after finishing the three manuscripts).
The book is set in Sweden (amps up your international cred just by reading it!). The main story involves a craggy, old, very successful businessman, Henrik Vanger, who hires a journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, to write his memoir. Blomkvist quickly realizes this is a cover; the old man really wants him to work under the radar and dig into the disappearance of his niece, Harriet Vanger, which occurred over forty years ago; Vanger believes his niece was murdered but her body was never found. AND he is convinced someone in his large, disgustingly wealthy, and dysfunctional family did it. So Blomkvist finds himself knee-deep in family drama and intrigue.

 Blomkvist is no stranger to drama himself: as the book opens, he is being found guilty of aggravated libel of a shady, uber-rich industrialist named Hans-Erik Wennerstrom. Our Man in the White Hat Blomkvist knows the guy is a creepy criminal, but he found himself in a no-win situation and he lost. So before he serves his three month jail term, he finds himself getting ready to hunker down in the barren, northern outpost of Hedestad to open up some raw family wounds in the Vangar compound.

 As Blomkvist peels back layer after layer of dysfunction and intrigue, we meet one of the most complicated and unconventional heroines of fiction I’ve ever encountered- Lisbeth Salander (aka the girl with the dragon tattoo). She is a private investigator who is an all around genius and technological wunderkind, all wrapped up in a skinny, sullen, tattooed package. Calling her a broken individual from a horrendous background would be an understatement- as we slowly learn everything she’s been through, it’s astonishing that she is still standing. She is originally called on to investigate Blomkvist for Henrik Vangar; she then becomes interested in what the journalist has done, and especially about the crook Wennerstrom. Eventually she and Blomkvist meet and she becomes invaluable as he discovers the killer and almost loses his own life. She also deals out a little revenge, for herself and Blomkvist, along the way.

I especially loved Salander. She is as complicated as a character can be, she defies stereotypes, she has had to deal with unspeakable things in her past (some things we don’t get to learn until the second book, The Girl Who Played With Fire, also a fantastic read), and yet she perseveres. I found myself wanting to yell out loud and do a little fist pump during some of her triumphs in the book. Larsson does an unbelievable job taking on the voice of a young girl in her twenties; his sensitivity and insight are at times astonishing.

 About the only thing I could complain about regarding this book is having to figure out how to pronounce the foreign names of the cities and characters. Also, without a working knowledge of the country of Sweden, I found myself confused about what city was where, and how all the locations related to the overall story. Be prepared to stay up late my friends- you will not want to put this book down!

13 comments:

Auntie E said...

sound like a great book. Here from Friday Follow #239 on today's list.

Veronica Lee said...

Following your lovely blog now.

SweepTight said...

I can already tell I am going to love your blog! Thanks for following me. I am following your blog now, too.

~Jennie

Debbie said...

Now following, thanks for your follow!!! Great blog.

USCGWifey said...

Following back! Thanks for stoping by! I hate when I'm reading a book and can't pronounce the names. Then, the movie will come out and you hear that the names are totally different than you thought. lol HAPPY FF! Have a wonderful weekend!

Shanilie said...

I am always in need of a good book. Great review!

dustinnikki said...

Hi, happy Follow Friday! I'm your newest follower!

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Nicole

Optimal Optimist said...

Hi! Thanks for stopping by. I am your neweset follower! Your blog is great- I look forward to reading more posts!

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wacki04 said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Happy Friday Follow!

veterankindergartenteacher said...

Great review! Happy Friday! Blessings!

Janet Ruth said...

Happy Friday, and I am a new follower. Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Rebecca said...

Thanks always looking for a good book to read. Great review.
Thanks for following my blog. I've been meaning to stop by.
Am follower now too

Tanya said...

Thank you for popping by! Love the blog and am now following! Great book reviews...I definitely need to check them out!