Young Bill Young here. I cut my adult reading teeth in junior high on Agatha Christie mysteries. With a few exceptions, I left the genre behind once I entered high school and college. My sister, however, remains a big mystery fan, and when she told me she had just finished one of the best mystery novels she’s ever read, I was intrigued. Especially since the book was The Girl with the Dragon Tatto. This book had already been on my radar screen because it has sold like hotcakes and received excellent reviews. The story of author Stieg Larsson, who submitted the first three of ten planned “girl” novels before his untimely death, has only added to the mystique of the book.
Well, I just finished reading it. And, yes, I loved it. Here are my top ten reasons for loving the girl:
1. Protagonist Lisbeth Salander has to be the strangest heroine to ever grace the pages of a whodunit.
2. Protagonist Mikael Blomkvist is a journalist with principles. This is especially refreshing in an age where talking heads and dueling propaganda masquerade as news.
3. It’s a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma. (I was never really sure what that saying meant, but I think I have a better understanding since reading this book.)
4. It’s not just a “murder” mystery, it’s also a financial thriller. And a good one.
5. It’s a parable for our times. Every Wall Street speculator who fueled the Great Recession should have to read this book and then give a “class report” to the nation about what they learned.
6. It gives new meaning to the term “dysfunctional family.”
7. It takes us to far off places. Not only will you get to knock around Sweden with Lisbeth and Mikael, you will also travel to Australia and Switzerland.
8. It takes you into the underground world of hackers.
9. It reveals that misogyny is alive and well in progressive Sweden.
10. It’s a love story.
The popularity of the book has led to a movie in Sweden. It will probably be making the foreign film circles in America soon, and I suspect it’s just a matter of time before an English or American movie is made. But don’t wait for the cinematic adaptation. We all know the book is always better than the movie. And this is a good book, indeed!