The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

What I Just Finished Reading: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (2009)

First off, consider this a spoiler alert. I’m not going to give away any of the key mysteries, but some folks don’t want to know anything ahead of time.

I don’t read a lot of popular fiction, but this book was so well-reviewed, I figured I’d give it a try.

I read books every day at lunch. Waiters invariably ask me what the book I seem so engrossed in is called so they can pick it up. They are usually nonplussed when I tell them it is John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion or In Praise of Folly by Erasmus.

Some books I read can be downright dangerous. One year I was reading up on the Second World War. I brought a copy of Mein Kampf to a restaurant. The waiter came up to me and said “If I was Jewish, I’d punch you in the mouth.” I stopped reading A. Hitler outside my home.

So it has been sort of thrilling to read a book that people actually recognize. Almost everyone tells me they have either read the book or are about to read it. It is a sort of adult Harry Potter phenomenon. Nothing wrong with that.

And the book is really pretty good. But it also tells me why I don’t usually like the genre.

First, there is the fact that in books of this type, written by middle aged men, the boss almost invariably sleeps with his new, much younger, assistant. Which makes me feel like I’ve been neglecting my duties as a supervisor these past 20 years.

Second, there is the whole scattered morals of the heroes. For example, they do something to protect a client that leaves the families of several disappeared women wondering for eternity what happened to their daughters. Without any real reflection on the issue at all.

But, it is summer and this is the nature of the summer book.


About Patrick Young

Program Director of the Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) and Supervising Attorney for the Westchester Hispanic Coalition. Blogs for Long Island Wins and New York State Immigrant Action Fund
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