Books, Pop Culture and the Arts

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

I’m going back to reading. Last April, I decided that it’s been a long time since I finished a novel and I felt that my IQ level dropped a couple of points. I bought a four books – a trilogy and another one.

Actually, I was supposed to review the four books I was reading since April, but I just finished the book I am to review so I still want to write about it now.

(i’ll try to come up with the review for the three books, but i’m not promising anything)

So the books I was able to get my hands on last April was the Hunger Games trilogy, thanks to Mikay’s suggestion. And Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard book, thanks to NBS’s book sale.

Notice, that the genre of the books are, well, not within MY age group. The Hunger Games trilogy are young adult books and The Graveyard Book, i think, is considered a children’s book.

(but of course, Harry Potter and Twilight are young adults book as well, I have a great obsession with HP and a little on the Twilight book ^___^)

Anyway, since I wanted to get on my reading, I asked people around what I should read next, and a lot of people suggested The Girl With TheDragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson. I don’t know why but I refused to google what the book is about. I thought it was for kids.

I went to the bookstore, and thinking it was a young adult literature as well, I searched for it in the YA section of my favorite bookstore (which was NBS Recto since it’s a stone’s throw away from where I live and they sell ice cream inside which I found really strange). Annoyed that I can’t find it, I asked around.

Alas, it was in the “Mystery” section.

I ignored the thought that it’s a more mature kind of book, since I’m still in the mood for some YA lit but I bought it anyway. There’s movie coming out this December and I want to be in the know because I’m a social climber like that.

I started reading immediately (it was a Sunday, a day after I broke my laptop, so I don’t really have choice since I was bored) and was hooked ever since.

Since I just came from a YA lit strike, it took a couple of pages before I adjusted to the genre.

The story is about a journalist named Mikael Blomkvist, who’s just recently convicted of libel. He’s a publisher and he wrote an apparently libelous article on a big-shot businessman.

During his hiatus, he was hired by super rich old, old man Henrik Vanger, who have little family issues. Well, not really ‘little’ – an issue which dates back decades ago.

You see, Henrik never have an offspring and he’s eyeing his brother’s granddaughter, Harriet, to be a potential heir of their business empire.  Except that in the 60’s everything turned freaking downhill: Harriet disappeared. Henrik thought of the worst.

Henrik was obsessed with her disapperance (and prolly death) that he hired Blomkovist to look at the case with a ‘journalist eye’. For a year he will live on an island (owned majorly by, surprised surprised, Vanger family) and explore on the subject.

So, you might prolly be asking, who’s the girl with the dragon tattoo? Is Mikael secretly a girl?

The title character is an extremely introverted young woman names Lisbeth Salander, who is also my favorite character, btw. She’s a gifter researcher who has super powers (photographic memory – not really a SUPER power, but i just read four YA books so please pardon me).

Blomkovist and Salander worked on the Harriet case and in the process unearthened a family secret which is – for lack of better term, spoiler alert – extremely, absu-effing-lutly gross.

I like how Larsson describe things. He’s clear and very straightforward (I’m guessing because he’s a journalist). You can actually paint the words out of the book.

The book started slow. There are a lot of business and journalism-related stuff in the first part, which is kindov ok with me since I can relate to journ, but I don’t know how it would appeal with the other people. There are a lot of flashbacks and details that may appear useless, but reading on into the book, Larsson with weave them into the story, making them into important parts of the plot.

It was not until the middle of the book when thing gets REALLY interesting. the first part is still very well written and turn of events are still very engaging, but I found it rather slow.

After the first half, however, Larsson will take you in a very fast ride, and a very delightful one. All the events written in the first part with build up into one scheme that makes perfect sense.

And it is not at all predictable.

What appealed to me about the book, aside from its intrisic detail, is its take on many subjects. Let’s see, of course there’s the family feuds, abuse on women, racism, religion, among others.

Business Journalism also made a major part. I would very much suggest this to my friends who’s interested in Business Journ – I simply am not. I find it an insult to my principle that I took journalism to avoid math, and will eventually end up with math. But the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo made Business Journ SOOOOOOOO interesting (and believe me, coming from me, it means a lot).

I’m surprised very little of the people I know read The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo. The book is such a gem.


I was able to get hold of a copy of the Swedish movie adaptation of the book. It was not downright loyal to the book, but it’s a very good watch. The actress who played Lisbeth, Noomi Rapace, is my new girl crush. She was awe-some!

I can’t want for the Hollywood version, although the Swedish version raised the standard REALLY high.

Good luck with that 🙂

July 16, 2011