Friday, September 10, 2010

Cannonball Read #32: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Everyone's been raving about this book and I've been seeing it all over the subway, so when my friend lent it to me, I figured, why not?

Well, let me count the reasons why (not):

1) It is slow. I was promised a thrilling ride of mystery and intrigue. What I got was 200-plus pages of exposition before it actually got good.

2) I know that this book was translated from Swedish, but they really should have gotten a second English-speaking editor to look over the translated text. Because it just read so awkwardly - like it's been translated. (An example: "...kicked his backside" instead of "kick his ass/butt." Anything would have been better than "backside.")

3) I was at my local bar chatting with random people and mentioned that I was reading the book. They asked me which part I was at, I told 'em, and they said that I haven't gotten into the weird sexual parts yet and that it gets really good. I got to the weird sexual parts and I thought, "It took him 200-plus pages to get to this?" To say I was disappointed is a big understatement.

4) I wanted to know more about Lisbeth, and less about Mikael. Mikael annoyed me, and Lisbeth intrigued me. However, by the end, they had both aggravated me so thoroughly that I can safely say that I do not care about the rest of the trilogy.

For those who don't know the plot: This rich old man wants Mikael Blomkvist to study his huge household and find out what happened to his niece, who disappeared years and years ago. Mikael takes way too long to learn all the relatives' names and a couple months into his "investigation" (I call what he did in the first part of his year "crammed reading." I did it in college... during a weekend before finals) he makes some breakthrough and decides to hire Lisbeth Salander, a skilled researcher, to help him solve the mystery of the Missing Niece. Because obviously he realizes he did not have the skills to move ahead since it took him so effing long to get to a plot development.

Lisbeth is some enigma because she has lots of tattoos and doesn't like smiling or talking (Swedish people should come to New York. We are full of "enigmas" here). She has a checkered past and there are things referred to as The Bad Time. I assume this will be explored in the next two books but I honestly do not care. (Swedish readers, did Larsson really call it "The Bad Time" in Swedish? Seriously?) Lisbeth also freelances for some company that basically does background checks on people and her boss thinks of her as a friend/daughter/lusty object - but that's only because of her lack of talking/smiling and lots of tattoos.

During the course of this book, Mikael gets laid by three different women. I simply do not get it - he was a bore.

Look, I know this isn't supposed to be a great, important novel. But the plot dragged, and by the time I was ready to give up on it, it got exciting, so of course - since I had invested all that time on it - I had to finish it. And when I finished it, I was just annoyed. Because the payoff was really not worth it. Everyone disses Dan Brown books because they are stupidly written (they are) and there are some plot holes (oh God, so many) but at least his books are fast-paced and it gets into the action immediately.

Anyway, I just do not get the craze over this. However, I can see how it would make a great movie because they would (hopefully) gloss over all that BLAH BLAH BLAH SHOOT ME THIS IS SO BORING and get straight into the action.

Note: I am so annoyed at this book that I will not give it a header picture.

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