For week 32 I read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson. Normally I don’t care to read the current bestseller that everyone is referencing and gushing about, and all the book clubs are reading. I’m not exactly sure why this is. Some sort of rebellious hipster teenagering going on in my brainpan, I suspect. You’d think that for those reasons, I’d be able to relate better to the character of Lisabeth Salander, but I guess I still want too much to be liked, and instead became mostly frustrated by her.
The first thing you should know about the series is that it’s dark. It’s hard and ugly in places, which I think is accurate and something that draws me to this sort of story. The narrative also takes a while to pick up steam, starting with one section of plot and then veering away from it for the most part, in a seemingly aimless fashion. It picks up later, of course, but I have to admit that I was surprised it managed to be so popular in America. The first five pages didn’t include an explosion or a shoot-out, nor did the entire first chapter, and that seems to be the current industry standard, doesn’t it? Not to mention the difficulty of telling the secondary characters apart, with their Swedish names that most of us Americans can’t differentiate between very easily. Even I started to confuse some of them toward the end, and while the different sources of information don’t have to stand as completely distinct from each other, even momentary confusion as the reader tries to sort through the characters and put the puzzle together on their own can be frustrating enough to lose the spell of the story.
I gave the book four stars (out of five) on GoodReads. It didn’t change my life, and there were several points where I could have put it down and not bothered finishing it, but overall it was pretty good. Because I already have the second book, I’ll be reading that eventually, but unless the second is really compelling, I don’t forsee myself spending money on the third.