Book Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: I give it a B-.

Although all the books I read are not Asia-related, I’ve decided to write book reviews for them anyway.  I enjoy reading and I enjoy writing, so why not put both together and make my blog space also somewhere for reviewing what I read: the good, the bad and the ugly.

When I hopped on the plane to Seoul, I brought with me ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ by Stieg Larsson.  I didn’t know anything about this book except that it had been made into a movie recently, which was showing at the Bijou Arts Cinemas in Eugene (where I was previously living).  Although this is not always true, I have this idea in my mind about what sorts of books are made into movies: first, they must be appreciated by the masses (think ‘The Beach‘ by Alex Garland, ‘Eat, Pray, Love‘ by Elizabeth Gilbert, etc..), second, they often have a somewhat formulaic plot (think, ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ etc…).  But, presumptions aside, I had seen the brightly colored yellow and green book on many bookstore shelves and front windows.  ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ is, after all, an international bestseller.

So, I inherited the book from my mother who didn’t have much to say about it.  I think her exact quote was: “It’s ok.”

I would give this book a B-.  It was entertaining and definitely a good plane read, but besides that, it surely doesn’t go in my favorites list.

I felt that Larsson was trying his hardest, actually too hard, to create characters with a depth of personality and charisma.  Despite his efforts, I found them all rather flat and unbelievable.  Lisbeth is this mysterious character, but at the end we never find out why she is so “different.”  The connection between the characters seems disjointed and false.

The main character, Mikael Blomkvist, is a hero if I’ve ever seen one.  He might even be hero enough to rival Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon in ‘The Davinci Code.’  Speaking of ‘The Davinci Code,’ the entire times I was reading ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,’ I felt that the book was incredibly similar to Brown’s novel.  Both follow an overly heroic, macho man as he bravely solves a very intricate and mixed up crime: women love them even though they seem oblivious to the way they make females fall head-over-heals.

I wasn’t overcome by any sort of emotion at the end of ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.’  I simply closed the cover and began thinking about the next book I was going to read.

In regards to Larsson’s book I’ll have to agree with my mother: “It’s ok.”

2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

  1. Jess

    I generally agree with you about the book, but I can’t stress enough how perfect it is for reading on the plane. I am normally very antsy on long flights, but found this book so engrossing that I don’t remember anything else about my recent trip back from Russia.

  2. epicasia


    I completely agree with you. Despite the face the TGWTDT is not the most intellectually stimulating of all books, it is completely engrossing. This book saved me from several hellish, sleepless and miserable hours on an overnight stay in the Chengdu airport. This is definitely a must-read for any long plane ride.


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