The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson

I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for my book group, which now looks like it is defunct or reshaping or something. Otherwise, I was unsure about this one, because it’s a thriller and I don’t usually read thrillers. On the other hand, it’s also a bestseller and got rave reviews in a way that made it interesting to me despite its genre. Then again, it’s long, very long — 590 pages. It’s not that that’s ever stopped me from reading a book that interested me, but I was unsure about this one.

So now that I’ve read it, what did I think? My thinking didn’t change much at all. I still don’t like thrillers that much, and there were parts of this book that I found distasteful, like the violence. It made me wonder if the late author, who died in his early 50s, was a mysogynist, a misanthrope, both, or neither. I wonder that about just about everyone who writes thrillers.

I also understood why this book was so well reviewed. It brings in complex family relations, ethical questions, financial intrigue, and — something I always love — unusual characters with depth. I thought one of the two protagonists, Lisbeth Salander, was so improbable as to have stepped in from the fantasy/horror genre, but it was fun to follow her. Much of the violence can be skimmed (not skipped), too.  So I will recommend this to anyone who ever reads thrillers, even if they’re not your favorite genre.

As for animal violence, Larsson unfortunately fell into the usual trap of demonstrating the fact that serial killers do horrible things to animals, too. In this case, it’s a cat. Again, it’s skimmable but not skippable. There’s also a pigeon murder, damage done to a cow, and a rampage through a pet store that doesn’t end well. These comprise a small portion of what’s in the book, but they’re bad enough that I have to declare this book UNSAFE for animal lovers.

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December 5, 2009 - Posted by | animals, Book Reviews, cats | , , ,

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