The Swedish Girl with Serious Issues

I just finished reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest.  If you hadn’t figured it out (like I hadn’t when I first started), the titles all refer to the same girl.  It’s a trilogy.  “The Girl” is Swedish (the books are Swedish and translated into English) and she has issues.  People issues, issues from her past, trust issues, legal issues, identity issues, family issues… you name it, she’s probably got it.  Set against the backdrop of her issues, there are mysteries to solve, and other characters to know.  She’s not actually the main focus of the first book.  She is certainly a major player, but it is more of an opportunity to meet the characters that will appear in the subsequent novels.

I first recall seeing The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in every airport bookstore a couple of years ago from here to Dubai.  I was intrigued, but it wasn’t until the series was completely published that I finally committed to read the books.  I like to take an entire series at one time, rather than be forced to wait months or years for the next installment.  Of course, I still didn’t know how closely they were related.  I think I only had to wait for one of the Twilight books and two Harry Potters.  I don’t like waiting.  A lot can happen while waiting.

So, you’re probably wondering, what did I think of the books?  I liked the overarching plot along with the subplots, and recommend them, but I wouldn’t be doing the review justice if I didn’t warn readers what is in store.  There is a lot of violence against women in the novels, with much of it manifested as sexual violence.  The violence is not just implied, sometimes it is detailed, which, for me, can be difficult to read.  I am not a big fan of reading about the ugly side of humanity (ironic when you consider I only recently read The Hunger Games and just picked up a P.D. James’ murder mystery)… I think I’ve reached my quota for a single lifetime.  I can still read murder mysteries and the like… I just prefer it not to be so realistic or so graphic.  I used to be less discerning about things like that.  If these books were subject to MPAA ratings, they would undoubtedly be rated R.

Speaking of movie ratings, I have not seen the movie.  I don’t know if it follows the book, or if it leaves something to be desired.  I am not that much of a movie person.  I prefer to read than watch.  I probably go to the movie theatre about twice or three times a year, although I do collect DVDs.  It looks like they cast the role of Lisbeth Salander pretty well, though.  The actress matches the novel description pretty well (from what I’ve seen).  I am not sure how I feel about Daniel Craig.  I haven’t seen him in the role, and I am not entirely sure my imagination had fully processed an image of Mikael Blomkvist.

I like that the books are connected, even though each has its own sub-story.  I also like that none of the characters are universally lovable or perfect.  They are certainly human.  It raises some great questions for discussion, but I don’t want to ruin the plot for those that haven’t read the books and might.

Have you read the books?  Did you like them?  Have you seen the movie?  What did you think?



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