Coffee anyone? I felt like I was on a caffeine high while reading Stieg Larsson’s mystery/thriller novel, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. On so many levels, I found this to be a really great book, along with being an enjoyably suspenseful and heart palpitating read. “What was so good about it,” you ask… “Well,” I say in return. “Sit down… let’s have a chat… and let me tell you...”
1. First of all: I love every mention of the word coffee.. I love coffee, and felt it served as a healthy reminder of my need to quench the parchness of my taste buds.
2. Readability: I welcomed the change from YA (don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the YA genre, though it was a nice change of pace to be outside of it)
3. The characters: Let me explain. When I dive head first into a book, one of the first few things I look for are the characters and how they are described, their behaviors, personalities and how the interact with the other characters of the book. One of the questions I ask myself is: are these characters believable as “real people” or do they just seem like mere puppets being pulled by the strings of the author, aka puppet master. If the characters feel staged, fake, or lacking of true human complexity and yet simplicity all within the same moment, I completely disengage. When I’m reading, I look to connect with these characters. Identify with them. Does the character/person’s happiness, excitement, fear, or sadness feel real/legitimate… I don’t just see the people in Larsson’s novel as mere characters inked across a page. I can see them as real people. Why?/How? Because I am conscious of the world I live in and see how people say things without verbally having to say them. Body language. Quiet facial expressions. They are words… or rather represent words. And we all do it. We all don’t say everything that is at the tip of our brain. We have filters. Some of us don’t say exactly whats on our mind in every given moment of every given day simply because we don’t want to offend someone, or it is because we have built up walls around ourselves and are afraid to show our own vulnerabilities to the world. And Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo, is one of these people. She is quiet, doesn’t speak much, though through her actions and the unspoken body language, she communicates quite effectively her intentions. Long story short, I dig the complexity of this character and all the others in the book as well. They feel multidimensional… and it was simply refreshing to read.
4. What Blomkvist, the journalist, represents: He is a truth seeker/crusader. A warrior for the people. He feels his duty, as a journalist, is to uncover the truths that scads of people work to cover up and hide.
5. The Suspense: I love a good mystery. A puzzle that will keep you guessing til the end. This book will definitely serve up nothing less. Though the puzzle in finding out what happened to Harriet Vanger, niece to high profiled industrialist Henrik Vanger, took a momentary leap to the backseat while I, the reader, was totally wrapped up in the current situation Lisbeth was in with her guardian. This is where character complexity comes into play. There is more back story to her character, though you just can’t get at it (at least in the first book). So you read, looking to know more.
6. The Story: Yep. It’s not your Doris Day, Shirley Temple read that will leave you unaffected and smiling, grinning from ear to ear. It’s full of ugly things (hate, rape, murder, lies, thievery, manipulation, etc) though who said life is always pretty pearls, and pb&j sandwiches. Life can get ugly, and this book just openly talks about it.
Have you read it? If so, what were your thoughts? If not, read it, then come back and let’s chat. Would love to know your thoughts/take.
**Disclaimer** This book has some scenes that may be hard to digest, subject matter wise. I would recommend this book to those who are ok with reading material that contains: bad language (cuss/swear words), sex, and violence.