The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Bookies Book Club Pick)

Harriet Vanger, a young member of a very wealthy Swedish family disappears at the age of 16.   Gone without a trace, 40 years later, Harriet’s Uncle is still haunted by her absence… was she murdered?  If so by who?

Mikael Blomkvist part owner of the magazine Millenium has just taken a huge hit to the pocket-book.  Caught in a libel conviction he decided to take a breather from the magazine until the heat wears off and instead of a break, finds himself hired by Harriet’s uncle to research and try to find evidence as to what happened all those years ago.  With the help of a very damaged young tattooed computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, Mikael finds himself searching for pieces that will change the lives of all involved.

Sound popcorn worthy?  Well…. it depends on who you ask.  This was my book club, The Bookies, pick for our September read.  Due to a crazy busy month, by the time we reviewed this book last week I was not finished.  Not even close to being finished.  However, I think that really gave me an outside look at an interesting and somewhat hard discussion with our book club.

Our group met at a lovely Mexican restaurant and over assorted yummy dishes (I was so tired I forgot to order!) we discussed this book.   This book brought out mixed opinions, strong opinions on both sides.  I had ladies in the group who loved the read, found it interesting, fast paced, and fabulous.  Several of the girls in the group had already moved on to books two and three.  I had a couple that found it pretty neutral, even predictable, and had guessed the outcome long before the final pages were turned.  And there were a few that hated the book.  And I do not use that word lightly.  The book brought up some hard memories and the gory, graphic parts of the book were found to be too much, as well as Mikael’s promiscuous behavior ( he seemed to have no problem sleeping with an assortment of women,including one who was his best friend, and married and her husband did not care).

While you may be reading that above paragraph and think the review must have been just a battle and a nightmare, no, it was quite the contrary.  This remarkable group of strong women that I have the pleasure of meeting with each month (and have since August of 2001), are very respectful of each others opinions.  I, having not completed the book at the time of review, really found this discussion to be intense and as I say often, the books that bring out the emotions in us are usually the best reviews, especially when we come up with an assortment of feelings about the book.

One of the thoughts that touched me was while what happens to the character of Lisbeth Salander is horrible, cruel, and truly hard to read, this really shows how strong of a woman she is and for those who have went on to read the other books, they feel that this first book really lays out the ground work of how she became who she is.

Read from my back deck (and a part in Finland, Minnesota)

Flash forward a few days ahead to where I have finished the books and these are my thoughts I would like to add:

Yes, there are parts of the book that are graphic and hard to read.  I was a little glad I had a heads up about that through my book club because at the time of our discussion I was at a part in the book where things were flowing along much like a Sherlock Holmes read… solving a crime, looking for clues, just with the twisted addition of a very unusual relationship between Mikael and Erika.

While this book is pretty much centered around the activities of Mikael, it is to my understanding that  in the next book and the one after, it is actually Lisbeth who takes the lead character role and I find that an interesting turn from our author.  Actually, it is quite brilliant to bring Lisbeth in as a background character and then make her more important as the series goes on.

I ended the book very much satisfied that I had just read a good mystery and I would continue on with this series.

It is a fact that Stieg Larsson was contracted for 10 books when he wrote the three books in this series.   Before these books were published, Stieg died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 50.  It was his girlfriend who brought the books into the publisher and all three books were published.

Stieg had finished three detective novels in his trilogy “The Millenium-series” which were published posthumously; “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”. Altogether, his trilogy has sold more than 20 million copies in 41 countries (spring of 2010), and he was the second bestselling author in the world 2008.

Movie version:

After I finished reading the book, I rented the movie to see what these characters would play out like.  While I have heard great thoughts about the movie, I have to disagree.  The character of Erika seemed to soft and always looked on the verge of tears.  In the book her relationship with Mikael is ongoing and she is frequently featured.  In the movie, I am not sure I would have understood the depth of the relationship if I had not read the book first.

As in most movies from books, many parts were left out including one of the crucial moments in the book that lets you really understand what Lisbeth is made of.  I was surprised that it was omitted and still wonder if I just blinked and missed it.   Overall thoughts on the movie:  It looks like they are making American versions of all three of the books into movies.  Currently the movie I watched was the swedish one with English subtitles.   I would be interested in seeing how the new version will change from the one I seen.

My Amazon Rating

Book Journeys 2010 reading map has been updated to include The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

When in Ostergotland, stop by Steve’s Coffee, you may run into Mikael and Lisbeth grabbing a cup of joe, both are heavy coffee drinkers.

Cover Story:  There are other covers to this book and while this is nothing special, it’s not an unlikable cover.  Something about it is appealing.

I purchased my copy of this book from BookWorld

43 thoughts on “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Bookies Book Club Pick)

  1. I did it backwards. I saw the movie first and loved it. (No, I don’t usually do it that way.) The next day, I ran out and bought the book, read most of it in a weekend. It’s hard to read a mystery when you already know whodunit, but I really enjoyed the novel anyway. Of course, it’s hard to say, but I think the movie does a better job of hiding the guilty party than the book does.

    1. That is funny Ryan because I thought the movie totally gave away the guilty person right away…. and in the book I didn’t figure out until later. (Although…. I was really tired last week so maybe I missed stuff…) 😀

  2. This was a great discussion/review! I’ve been wanting to read this for a while anyway, but I really want to read it now to see where I fit in with my feelings about it. I also love strong female charactrs so I am interested to read about this Lisbeth person. =)

    1. Lisbeth is both week and strong Jenny – its interesting. Erika however seems strong and self confident all the way through the book and I didn’t get that from her character in the movie. I have only skimmed other reviews on this so I am now curious to read in more detail others opinions. 😀

    1. Hannah I think the book was so large and detailed that the movie seemed to lack in that area. I literally finished the book and 5 minutes later started to watch the movie. 😀

      I won the second book (if I could only remember what blog….) so once it arrives I plan to read it and continue the series.

    1. I agree Kate, I don’t like graphic reads either and didn’t even know about that part until the book review. There are some harsh parts that still turn my stomach. Overall, that would be the parts that lowered my overall rating of this book.

  3. I definitely will read this series as soon as time permits. It is good to know ahead of time about some ascpects of these books. Thanks for the terrific and thourough (sp?) review .

  4. Staci from Life in the Thumb and I are going to read this one together but it will probably be Jan before we get to it. New movie comes out next week so I’ll be doing it about face, movie then book 🙂
    Thanks for great review

  5. I really liked the movie but there were great parts left out. I want to read book2 before I see the next movie.

    As for the book I did like the mystery but it dragged too much for me at parts. I will read the other books when I have time :). My mom loves book2!!

    1. Rosey I want to read book two first before the movie as well. 🙂

      I think I was really in the mood for a mystery because other than the beginning of the book where it took me a while to get into the flow of things, I then shot through the book.

  6. MBB read this book recently as well. Varied reactions as well on our end. I ended up really enjoying this book – but Lisbeth stole it for me. She had a punk rock edge, and had so many layers to her character. Looking forward to the other books!

    1. My book group is amazing Staci 😀 I have to brag on them when I can – I love our different tastes in reads and I love the diversity in our discussions. I like that we are all comfortable to speak our mind on books and not feel judged by our opinions.

      This review was the best we have had this year, in my opinion.

  7. I enjoyed this series. I would have loved a fourth book. I watched the swedish movie and agree the Erika character was not even a supporting role. I like the acress who played Lisbeth though.

    1. Thats the movie I seen Nise’. It was like Erika looked like she was going to break out in tears any minute. I also loved the actress that played Lisbeth, she had the hard edge to her that the book described well.

  8. I believe I have mentioned wanting to read this. Not because of all the hype, but I have seen this floating around a lot of bloggers and sounds really good. Thanks for the heads up on the graphic parts though; not a big fan of bloody gory stuff. Now i know it’s coming I can prepare myself:)
    Also, I didn’t know he had passed away, how sad. But I didn’t know it was a series ( I live under a rock;) Looking forward to reading all three and watching the movies. Always interesting to see who plays which character.

  9. Elisha, that was what I had seen too, bloggers enjoying the book and the series. i wasnt at book club when this one was voted in so it came from another direction but I was glad to have the opportunity to try it.

    I dont want to give anything away but there are a couple hard parts and I think you can skim them without doing the book any injustice.

    My book group actually had a few other tid bits about the author that were really interesting but I could find nothing on line to back that part of our discussion up so left it out of my review.

  10. All the girls at my work are crazy about this book, funny I am the only one who hasn’t read it yet! I even own it…I picked it up at a library sale for a buck or two!

    Thanks for stopping by my “What are You Reading” post. I wholeheartedly recommend the Last Survivor Series by Susan Beth Pfeffer! Soooo good!

    Have a great week!

    1. Thanks for the book recommendations Tara, I will have to look into that series – I think they sound good.

      Read the book and let me know – I would love to read your review! 🙂

  11. My mom recently read this. When she told me that she was reading it, I thought she’d have a hard time with it but she really felt much the same way that you did. She finally brought me her copy and my parents have both of the next two books now so I can’t wait to read them!

  12. My book club almost chose this book a few months back, and as much as I loved this book (and the series as a whole!), I am kind of glad we didn’t choose it. I have a feeling it would not have been a hit.

    1. Lola once we got into the book and I started hearing more about it I was a bit nervous about the book discussion as a group but they came through it wonderfully, mixed thoughts but that is the beauty of a book club -all thoughts and opinions are welcomed and encouraged. 🙂

    1. Pat I will give you the same advice everyone gave me…. its a slow start. You will have about 70 pages of background story before you start to get into the flow of the book….. hang in there and I hope you share with me what you think! 😀

  13. Great review! This one is actually on my TBR shelf already (well, kind of – I lent it out to someone else a few weeks ago) and now I’m quite intrigued. Enough so that I am contemplating nagging said lendee so I might do that sooner rather than later. 😉

  14. I own all 3 of this series, but still unread. I hope to change that soon. Amazing story how he was published after his death. Thanks for that info Sheila.

  15. Interesting range of views from your book group. My neighborhood book group read it last winter and most people liked it. My neighbor and I went to see both movies (book 1 and 2 have been made into Swedish movies) and thought they were both really good – the actors were excellent in portraying Mikael and Lisbeth – I can’t imagine Hollywood doing any better.

    I think the series just gets better and better – I really enjoyed books 2 & 3. My husband read the whole series after finished!


    1. Sue I want to continue the books but wow…. when (as I search my piles of unread books!) 🙂

      I havent seen the second movie, do they keep the actors the same? What did you think of Erika in the Swedish version?

  16. We just discussed this book for my book club too, and it was by far the book that has generated the most discussion. The group was unanimously in agreement that they loved the book though. I actually am just now reading the second and hope to start the third this week. So far, I’m enjoying them just as much, if not more!

  17. Funny how i came across this book the girl with the dragon tattoo , sounds allot like my husband. around 2004 or give or take. my husband starting having affair with a writer. he totally denied everything, and now i read this. Hummmm! really makes me wonder if this is the book she had someone write, Really interesting!!!!!

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