The following review originally appeared on Book End Babes, a website devoted to a love of reading and to learning about new authors.
Like many readers, I was absolutely sucked into Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire. (I haven’t made it onto the third book yet). I came across The Tatooed Girl: The Enigma of Stieg Larsson and the Secrets Behind the Most Compelling Thrillers of Our Time at my local Target and immediately threw it into my cart. I’m glad I did.
It’s a bit of a slower read and one of the most challenging reads I’ve completed since my days as an English major, but it proved rewarding. The information provided to me makes me want to reread the series immediately and watch for the things I learned and the new themes that I missed the first time around because I was so enthralled in the plot.
While I found the commentaries of Swedish political movements and historical backgrounds to be quite interesting, especially when it pertained to how Larsson developed his characters, the tidbits of unknown information were what stuck out to me most.
How many of you knew the original title of the first book was Men Who Hate Women? Had Larsson not died, these books would have been known by very different titles. The Girl themed titles were the creation of the Larsson’s publisher.
Another intriguing factoid I discovered is that Larsson based Lisbeth off of Pippi Longstocking, paying homage to that in the name listed on her mailbox in her new home in The Girl Who Played with Fire.
The chapter containing the errors that may have been made by the translators may be one of my favorites of the book. I almost want to learn Swedish to read the book in it’s original format. The meaning of some sentences has been lost in translation and has made some areas of the book drier than the original.
Larsson lived a most intriguing life, with many of his experiences and beliefs reflected in his characters and in the situations in which they find themselves. The authors do a nice job of providing insight into Larsson via his life partner, Eva Gabrielsson, his friends and his colleagues.
I recommend this book to anyone who is in love with Larsson’s trilogy. It’s filled with insight into Larsson and his characters, the politics of Sweden, the publishing world and a bit of conspiracy. As I mentioned earlier, it is not an easy read and can be dry at some points but it’s worth taking the time to better understand the intriguing characters Larsson has created.