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Stieg Larsson, Can I Have my Money Back?

Updated on October 19, 2011

A more appropriate title would be: The Girl who Was Frozen in Time


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.

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 print.

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.


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    • thebiologyofleah profile image

      Leah Kennedy-Jangraw 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      I enjoyed the trilogy overall but I agree the third book is the most difficult to get through. I found myself enjoying the subplot with Erica Berger the most, which surprised me because she wasn't all that interesting in the first two books (not sure if you got to that subplot where you left off). I agree with Charles James that the trial scenes are worth it but it is tough to get there. I, too, blamed the translation for some moments of interesting sentence structure etc.

      If I really can't get through a book but need to know what happens, I'll read a cliffnotes version or a detailed plot summary just so I can get it out of my head!

    • Charles James profile image

      Charles James 6 years ago from Yorkshire, UK

      I enjoyed all three books.

      As a lawyer I found the trial scenes in the third book excellent - but it does help if you read the series in order.

      The books were conceived as part of a group of ten - maybe the pages you found heavy going were intended to link elsewhere.

    • Deni Edwards profile image

      Deni Edwards 6 years ago from california

      Hi, Jean--Well, I'm glad I'm not alone on this. I've not read reviews on the books, but I have heard from everyone that all of the books are great (cough-cough)! I finally picked it up--everywhere I looked people were reading these books! Oh, how I envy you that you were able to finish it!

      Dawn, I can only tell you that the first two are worth the read, and I will warn you that the third book drives you insane. Enter at your own risk.

      Thanks to both of you for the comments.

    • dawnowens profile image

      dawnowens 6 years ago from Jersey Girl

      Interesting hub & well written. I've never read any of the books in the trilogy, but lately I've been seeing the trailer for the movie version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo everywhere. It got me wondering about these books since they seem to have become such a sensation. I still haven't decided whether I'm going to give them a read or not.

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 6 years ago from New Jersey

      Hi Deni Edwards,

      I had to take a peek at your hub because I wrote reviews of the Millennium Trilogy too. Another thing made me smile, as I usually trudge through a book if I start it, no matter what, with few expceptions. I agree with your assessment that the 3rd was the weakest of the trilogy. My theory and others think that Larsson dropped them off at the publisher, and they were never properly edited. Between all those long Swedish street names and characters, it was really hard to keep track of who was who. And was it really necessary to bring so many low level characters in anyway? I still think the books were good, but I understand where you are coming from. I never saw the movies, and the first book had the title of "Men Who Hate Women." I guess they didn't think that would go over well in other countries? Anyway, sorry you couldn't finish it, I know how that bothers me. Best wishes!