Merry Wanderer of the Night + TIME

Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

I finally picked up The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

because it was the September selection for the Drunk Literature Book Club. I apparently had more luck than Rebecca though because I actually finished it. I must agree with her, crime fiction is not really my cup of tea, but I was strangely in the mood to give some a try. Maybe it's because a lot of my friends and some of my favorite podcasts have been talking so excitedly about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that I felt like I was missing out on something. The story is about a journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, who is offered a large sum of money by the wealthy Henrik Vanger to find out what happened to Vanger's favorite niece many years before. Blomkvist takes the challenge, mostly because he thinks it will give him so power in the middle of the libel case he is a part of. Blomkvist gets some help from investigator Lisbeth Salander along the way. Lisbeth is young, incredibly intelligent, and deeply misunderstood.

One of my favorite aspects of this book that I don't think gets discussed very much is the portrayal of violence against women. There are moments in the book where Lisbeth is raped or put in the position of sexual submission, and other moments later in the book where you find out several other stories about women who were treated violently. And these things are by no means only present in the book. Things like this happen all the time in the real world, and just like no one does anything about them in the book, most people don't do much about it in the real world either. I think Stieg Larsson did a great job of portraying the after effects of sexual violence against women in this novel.

While I really enjoyed that aspect of the book I found the first half painful to get through. I was expecting a page turner, something I really needed at the beginning of the semester, and what I got was much denser than I expected. I also didn't like the repetition, sometimes you would learn something and then ten pages later you would have to learn it again. He probably did this so the reader didn't have to think about it and could just keep reading without having to search in their brains for what the plot, but I always find this device rather insulting. The second half of the book was quite thrilling, but I thought the ending was a little dull. So overall I wasn't as excited as I thought I would be, which is why...

I'm giving this book a C.

For October the Drunk Literature Book Club selection is biographies. Any biography you want-- you should join in if you can!

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Girl With the Dragon Tattoo + TIME