Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The Girl Who Doesn't Care About Stieg Larsson's Trilogy

now finished: Men Who Hate Women by Stieg Larsson

Oh, you thought it was called The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, did you? That's because we are victims of jackass corporate publishers who listen to their jackass marketing departments, who, unfortunately, are well aware of just how dumb jackass Americans are. The title in Swedish is .. um...something I can't remember or spell very well, but it MEANS "men who hate women." And that's what the book should be called in English. Instead, we have this "The Girl With..." nonsense. Apparently The Girl Who Played With Fire, the second book in the series, is an accurate translation of the Swedish title, and as this wise blogger points out, the first and third were willfully changed to distort not only the focus of those two titles but the second title as well, making it all about The Girl instead of the fact that she is taking on something more dangerous than she may have thought.

And now we have a jackass "English-language remake" of the Swedish film in the works and EW keeps jabbering about which actress will play Lisbeth Salander and quite frankly, she's totally not even the main character of The Girl With the Dragon TattooMen Who Hate Women, which I, unfortunately, have now read.

Usually I maintain my bestseller backlash for a bit longer than this - I first touched Men Who Hate Women With Dragon Tattoos, what - two years ago? Two and a half? In Borders Atlas Park. But there was this vast right-wing conspiracy to get me to read it, and then we went to the cottage and Brian's mom had it and blew through it and the second onto the third, and everyone but everyone like Jill! and Amy! and Stacey! and Chris and everyone on Facebook! and the Swedish movie was across the street forever! and the violence wasn't gratuitous, and wasn't misogynistic, or was it? and fine! fine! fine! I read the damn thing on the beach in two days. And my grade? W. For "whatever!"

It's like The Incredibles all over again. People got so uproariously mad when I didn't like that movie, because, they all said, "It's unique! It has this totally inventive, original story line about these superheroes who are, like shunned by society but really are smart and have these incredible talents!" To which I responded, how is that not the plot of every single superhero movie? And of every single Brady Bunch episode? My friends, we have a repeat. All the Män som hatar kvinnor (I looked up the spelling) devotees go on and on about the unique literary brilliance of this book. No. It's a mystery. It's written much like any mystery. Especially maybe The Da Vinci Code. It has its interesting points, but around page 280-something it goes seriously downhill for a while. And, as many people have pointed out SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! NOT TO DO WITH THE 'WHO DONE IT' BUT A PLOT POINT ABOUT THE CHARACTERS' RELATIONSHIP 300 PAGES IN SPOILER ALERT! SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON'T WANT THE SPOILER! ALERT! ALERT! I'M GOING TO SPOIL NOW! there is no freakin' reason for Lisbeth to sleep with Mikael Blomkvist. Seriously. None. It is so stupid. Even if Stieg *had* to establish the nice-guy-can-be-promiscuous-without-hating-women-so-not-all-men-are-bad aspect of Blomkvist, he could have done so by him sleeping with his best friend co-worker (which he does) and one of the members of the Vangar family (which he does) or even the red herring of what's-her-guts in the cafe. UGH. Also I really really hate that Stieg took the David Foster Wallace/Emile Zola route with regard to the cat. The cat was, quite frankly, my favorite character, but he sacrificed it and, worse, made it the subject of monstrous brutality. That's when I wanted to throw the book across the room. OK THAT IS THE END OF THE SPOILER. ONTO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH. NO MORE SPOILERS.

So I'm annoyed with Stieg, I'm annoyed with the publishers/marketers, I'm annoyed with the fans, and I'm totally not impressed by the story or the writing. Whatever, trilogy that you all can't put down. I can so easily put it down. Noooooo problem.

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