BookBin2011: The Girl Who Played With Fire

I do believe this is a first for my BookBin entries, denizens: This is the first book I’m refusing to finish.

I didn’t even refuse to finish Stranger in a Strange Land, even though Heinlein’s unapologetic misogyny and startling lack of enlightenment made me want to crotch punch him.

I didn’t even refuse to finish Twilight! And anyone who knows anything at all about me knows that I want someone to suffer for the scourge of the Twilight saga. Someone Mormon.

But I just can’t finish this one, denizens. I made it halfway through The Girl Who Played With Fire, Stieg Larsson’s sequel to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and I reached yet another mention of the “impromptu” tattoo that Lisbeth Salander gave her advocate…and I realized, I just don’t want to know anymore about this world that these characters inhabit. It’s an ugly, brutal world and its primary targets are women.

You know what? I already know how dangerous the world is for women. In fact, I daresay there aren’t very many women out there who need to be reminded of all the potential dangers waiting out there for us. Therefore, I don’t need to have this fact hammered into my head (in oftentimes highly disturbing ways) by the likes of Larsson’s novels.

I already spoke my thoughts on his goals for his Millennium series in my review of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. They remain strongly in place. Do I think that there are people out there who might not understand the truths that Larsson was trying to convey with his books? Yes. They’re called men.

I’m not trying to be sexist or flippant with that statement. I have found, however, that men often do not understand why women seem so paranoid or skittish when they are in certain situations. I’m reminded of one of the “death” openings from the series Six Feet Under (which I still think is one of the most brilliant things to come out of Hollywood in many moons).

Each episode began with someone’s death. This particular episode started with a young woman walking alone down a dark street when suddenly she finds herself being followed by a group of men. They start verbally harassing her and when she begins to walk away faster, they take chase. The woman breaks into a full run, heading straight into the middle of the street where she’s hit by a car and killed.

Turns out the guys who were chasing her were her friends. They thought they were being funny. They didn’t understand why what they were doing would in any way be frightening enough to cause their friend to run out into traffic just to get away from them. They weren’t being intentionally malicious. They were just sadly clueless.

Sorry for spoiling that opening for you, but that’s the first thing that came to mind when I was trying to understand why Larsson would feel so compelled to write these descriptively violent books. As obvious as the existence of these things are to women, they apparently remain a mystery to many men. Perhaps something good could come from these readers wrapping their brains around these stories.

Of course, the jaded, pessimistic side of me says that all these books will really be is titillation for explicitly dark-minded souls.

Whatever they may be to others, they are no more for me.

Final Verdict: Library book, so it goes back tomorrow. As much as I do still like the character of Lisbeth Salander, I just don’t want to read anymore from this series. Also, I am now no longer “unsure” about the future of my copy of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I have already moved it to the donation box.