Image from Amazon
Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis (from Amazon)
Lisbeth Salander, heroine of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels, is one of the most compelling, complex characters of our time. Is she an avenging angel? A dangerous outlaw? What makes Salander tick, and why is our response to her—and to Larsson’s Millennium trilogy—so strong?
In The Psychology of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 19 psychologists and psychiatrists attempt to do what even expert investigator Mikael Blomkvist could not: understand Lisbeth Salander.
• What does Lisbeth’s infamous dragon tattoo really say about her?
• Why is Lisbeth so drawn to Mikael, and what would they both need to do to make a relationship work?
• How do we explain men like Martin Vanger, Nils Bjurman, and Alexander Zalachenko? Is Lisbeth just as sexist and as psychopathic as they are?
• What is it about Lisbeth that allows her to survive, even thrive, under extraordinary conditions?
• How is Lisbeth like a Goth-punk Rorschach test? And what do we learn about ourselves from what we see in her?
There are quite a lot of books like this around but I’ve never read one before, mainly because I thought they might be a bit to simplistic. The whole idea behind these types of books I did always like. For someone who has little knowledge of psychology it can be a good way of getting across information in a way that’s fun to read and easy to understand. Because psychological concepts and ideas can be related to characters whom the reader is already familiar with it makes it easy to put these ideas into a context.
Sometimes I found this was actually carried off really well. The writing was generally at a level which was easy to read and understand and quite a broad array of topics were covered. I found that the social psychology sections were particularaly well written, especially the sections on goths and nerds.
It seemed however that the further I got into the book the less it seemed to interest me. Possibly it was just a bit too long, but I did find later articles repeated on what some of the earlier articles had said. I also found that a few of the chapters didn’t really link that well to Lisabeth, I mean can we really call her a superhero? The further I got through the book as well the more chapters I found that read closer to articles you would expect to find psychological journals, it was almost as if articles already written had been adapted for the book. I could still understand them but found them rather dry to read.
There was also one particular article which went overboard with making itself simple in that it seemed to forget certain principles. It used wikipedia as a genuine research tool, something I wouldn’t have even been allowed to do when studying for my a-levels, it’s really not a reliable enough source. Also the writer wasn’t critical of the research they used in the article which had at least one rather obvious hole.
For someone with little or no understanding of psychology this may be a good place to start but I would recommend reading it broken up with another book, oh and wait until you have read all the books!
Image by Kirsty Komuso via Flickr
Synopsis (from Amazon)
“I want you to find out who in the family murdered Harriet, and who since then has spent almost forty years trying to drive me insane”
Henrik Vanger, head of the dynastic Vanger Corporation, is tormented by the loss of a child decades earlier and convinced that a member of his family has committed murder.
Mikael Blomkvist delves deep into the Vangers’ past to uncover the truth behind the unsolved mystery. But someone else wants the past to remain a secret and will go to any lengths to keep it that way.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo:
Lisbeth Salander, the enigmatic, delinquent and dangerous security specialist, assists in the investigation. A genius computer hacker, she tolerates no restrictions placed upon her by individuals, society or the law.
(it’s actually the same as the back of the book, Amazon’s own synopsis had a bit of a spoiler)
Took a while for this to really get going, while I was quite enjoying the build up and all the background information I was also eager for things to start happening and this wasn’t until about halfway through. Plot wise this book was pretty great, once it got going it was a real page turner with plenty of twists which made it hard to predict.
(Highlight for spoiler)For a couple of things I never expected Martin to be a murder, and I didn’t even begin to entertain the idea that Harriet might be alive! I never did suspect Celia was guilty though, even if it had been her in the window
There were a few things I disliked about it though. I found the number of characters quite confusing, especially at the beginning, and especially where some of the names were similar. I also didn’t think the style of writing was that great, I’ve read worse writing, but I’ve certainly read better too. I’m ready to forgive the writing quality though as the book is a translation.
All in all, if you like mysteries for their twists and turns this is a great book, if you’re more in it for excitement there are more exciting mysteries and you may find that you are waiting for things to happen a lot but there are exciting moments- if you can be patient they are worth it!
Oh and another thing there are a few gory descriptions which might put some people off, but I think they were needed and while I don’t really like gore it wasn’t so much that it was unbearable.