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Stieg Larsson, Can I Have My Money Back?

Updated on December 11, 2018

A more appropriate title would be: The Girl Who was Trapped in a Book


Dear Stieg, I know you are dead, but still...

I’ve been an avid reader my entire life, and when I begin a series of books, I’m the type of reader who MUST complete it, without exception. It’s difficult to explain. It’s like the characters are frozen in my mind much like most people would see a movie that has been paused.

But, Stieg, you’ve changed me. I have finally found the exception…you.

Your first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was okay. It was worth reading as a loaner, but I purchased the paperback edition, new.

Your second book, The Girl Who Played with Fire, was a lot better. It was worth purchasing the hardback book, second hand or the paperback version, new. I purchased it second hand, paperback edition.

I had high hopes for your third and final book, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I purchased it second hand, hardback edition. It cost me $9.00, not including the gasoline. It took me several trips to the used book store, hoping with each visit that someone had traded it in, and it would be waiting for me.

That was over a year ago.

You don't even deserve a real bookmark.

Today, and for the past six months, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is sitting on my end-table being used as a coaster. I usually treat books better than that, but again, Stieg, you’ve changed me.

An Edward and Bella collectible bookmark resides between pages 328 and 329 of my trusty coaster I’ve been using for the past six months, and it took me months to read those 328 pages. In the beginning, I thought I was suffering from narcolepsy.

Today I am replacing the Edward and Bella bookmark with a McDonald’s receipt. I don’t know when I will see the receipt again, but I do know that by the time I finish the book, the receipt will be vintage. I will show my friends and family how much a sausage biscuit cost in the good ol’ days.

I know it won’t matter that I’ll forget the names of characters, what is happening or what has happened in the past. I can always count on you to retell the entire story, including the last two books, every eight pages, by filling up 15 pages with the backstory.

If I want to re-read a book, I opt to take it from my bookshelf instead of driving myself to the bookstore across town and purchasing the book new. The logic behind this, Stieg, is that it is a waste of money.

Stieg, out of the 328 pages that I have read, I would take a good guess that 200 of those pages are unnecessary and should have been scrapped.

Your sentence structure, combining past and present tense, has me wrinkling my brow. It is a constant reminder that I am reading print on a page rather than a film I usually view inside of my head. One sentence that drones on and on for three-quarters of a page is not my idea of a favorite pastime or an enjoyable hobby. It is more like a difficult task that one puts off doing for, if possible, decades.

I’m sure that one day I will finish your last book, Stieg. I just don’t know when that will be, exactly.

Don’t get me wrong. I am very curious about Lizbeth Salander’s outcome. The picture of her lying in a hospital bed in mid-sentence is embedded in my brain. I've placed her on pause. Every so often she asks me to press play, but I just don’t have the patience for any more redundancy.

I don’t know whose fault this is, Stieg. You do have a really good story to tell. At first I thought it was the translation, but now I have to point my finger at your editor. Perhaps in honor of your memory and to preserve your work, someone wrongly believed that your work should remain intact. Tearing out entire pages might have had you feeling like you were being butchered, but, Stieg, it really should have been done.

© 2011 Jenifer L


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