Book Review: The Girl Who Played With Fire

Kunk Fu Zoby Kung Fu Zu11/25/17
By Stieg Larsson  •  This novel is a malcontented progressive’s wet dream. Stereotypical would not begin to describe the clichés and poor writing, which make up this zero between two bound covers.

The protagonist is Lisebeth Salander, the poster-child for all those misfit losers who had poor grades in school, but like to believe it was because they were so much smarter than the kids getting A’s.  She shows her individuality by being tattooed all over her body. Further signs of her tasteful independent streak are the piercings in her tongue, eyebrow, navel, ears and nether regions. Strangely, almost nobody sees her “true” beauty, yet despite her “who-gives-a-damn attitude”, she decides to have a boob job.

The above notwithstanding, Lisebeth is an untutored math genius who reads 20lb tomes about esoteric arithmetic. Lisebeth is also a world-class computer hacker and a thief. She has stolen hundreds of millions from some caricature of a villain and is now able to travel the world in comfort and live without worrying about the rent. Perhaps not surprisingly, she is also a vindictive little creature as she uses her hacking skills to damage people who irritate her. I don’t mean people who try to steal from or hurt her physically. I mean people who she feels didn’t treat her with the respect she is due. Although she is a shrimp, being 4’11’ weighing less than one hundred pounds, she can beat a big man’s ass.

With such a biography she must be a heroine, surrounded by crooks, murderers, Nazi’s, racists, and generally bad people. She is wonderful. In other words, Lisebeth is a fairy-tale character written on the level of a four-year-old. Let me apologize to those millions of average four-year-olds who would find Lisebeth a pretentious phony, the product of a fevered brain

As silly as the Lisebeth character is, Larsson’s writing is still worse. I am about 20% through the book and the main concentration has been on Lisebeth’s furnishing her apartment after returning to Sweden. That and how everyone has sex with everyone else. There is a brief aside which deals with Lisebeth saving some poor Texan woman from being murdered by her husband, who of course did it for money. Naturally, he is a Presbyterian minister or something like that.

Mostly we are treated to scenes like the one in which Lisebeth screws a poor black boy teenage boy living in a shack, who is ten years her junior. One gets the impression she did this just to show age, race and money are not important to her, but she is an equal opportunity slag.  I must admit that after reading the scene the thought that ran through my mind was, “What a surprise, I was sure she was going to be a lesbian.” I soon learned, “Be careful what you think.” It turns out that Lisebeth returns to an old Eurasian flame from Hong Kong who is living in Sweden. Lis enjoys unfettered sex with the Chinese dyke who is a champion of the LGBTQRUSTUVWXUZ crowd.  The dyke is also screwing (?) an older married woman whose husband travels a lot.

More profound content follows.

The reader is treated to Lisebeth’s history of sex with Bloomqvist, who she apparently teamed up with in the first book in order to destroy some financial criminal. We then learn of Bloomqvist’s affair with Harriet, a rich widow whose uncle saved the magazine for which Bloomqvist writes. Harriet has had sex with only three men before meeting Bloomqvist; her father who she killed, her brother who she ran away from, and some good old fart who she married. He died and, well you know it just the thing for her to start an affair in her fifties with a man who must be about 20 years younger than she.

Harriet and Bloomqvist are part owners in a magazine which “exposes” wrongdoings of all those evildoers in Sweden. It just happens that their latest project is an expose’ on gangs, who fool silly girls from the Baltic States and Russia, into coming to Sweden and then force them into prostitution. More sex. Of course, the gangs are made up of males and the victims are all female. Oh, there is one exception, a transgender male/female who also abused those poor girls. Men-(even confused men) bad, women-good, or at least abused.  Oh, and the bad police don’t try to do anything about breaking up the gangs.

I apologize if I go into too much detail here, but believe me the book is worse. I simply wanted to give the reader an idea of what this gem-of-a-book is actually like. It is a piece of trash.

Stieg Larsson must have been somewhat mentally deranged. He sees the world as one big caricature. Black and White. Those straight, white, rich males are the source of all evil. But the more deviant, mixed up, obnoxious and anti-social a character is, the more that character is a hero in Larsson’s bizarre universe.

While doing a little research on Larsson, I ran across a comment by one of his friends or colleagues who expressed doubt that Larsson had had the talent to write the series. I laughed at this, as this book is so bad that it would have taken little talent to write. I believe a more perceptive person would have asked, “Why would anyone wish to write such garbage?” If the answer isn’t, “For the money” then old Stieg must have been sicker than I thought.

I understand the books in this series have sold 80 million copies. Does this indicate the series was a big hit with the tattooed ugly girl crowd? I have neither the time nor inclination to do a survey and find out. What it does, clearly, indicate is that millions of people have extremely bad taste in “literature.” Anyone with even half a brain will avoid these books like the plague. “The Girl Who Played with Fire” is rubbish, which would be best put use as tender for an outdoor barbecue.


Kung Fu Zu is a conservative prognosticator who has traveled widely and lived outside the United States. He is a RWTWTTAAACV. (Right wing Texan with tendencies toward Alamo appreciation and Churchill veneration) • (162 views)

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16 Responses to Book Review: The Girl Who Played With Fire

  1. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Brad,

    Your comments at the end of the piece made me laugh again today. I especially like the acronym RWTWTTAAACV.

    • M Farrell says:

      Dear Mr Kung Fu Zu—
      When I first started reading this review I thought it was an Onion style tongue-in-cheek parady— But good grief, it’s an actual book— yikes!!

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Dear M Farrell,

        Sadly, it is an actual book. And worse still is that Larsson wrote four of these books for the series. He then croaked, for which the literary world should give thanks, not to mention the rest of Sweden. And even worse still is the fact that some whore of a writer is carrying on the series and has written a further two or three books.

        This would have surprised me a few years back, but since I bought a Kindle, I occasionally log on to Amazon to check what free and/or cheap books I can find. And I am amazed at the amount of garbage which is out there. I am even more amazed that the vast majority of this stuff is written for a female audience. How do I know this, you might ask. One only has to look at the covers and titles to see that fantasy sex sells to the modern female audience.

        And I am not the promiscuous sex is the worst part of Larsson’s book. In any case, I decided to stop reading it before they brought in the animals.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Glad you liked that added touch, Mr. Kung.

  2. Steve Lancaster says:

    I suppose KFZ has a point, but there is a lot worse ways to pass time. If you have not read the first book, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” then much of the following books will not make sense. No one ever claimed Larrson was a Swedish Dickens, or for that matter even Faulkner, he is more of a Harold Robbins.

    I recommend the Swedish TV series with Noomi Rapace. The three books end up about 9 hours of movie and some of the detail that KFZ doesn’t like are skimmed over. Either venue, book or movie is entertainment more than literature but worth the effort. If nothing else the reader/viewer will get a sobering view of how a socialist country deals with misfits.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      When you have a series, the later books should contain at least a brief summary of what happened in the earlier books if that is essential to understanding them.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      but there is a lot worse ways to pass time.

      Yes, playing pitch with live hand grenades, experimenting with Russian roulette or poking rattle snakes with a 12 inch stick would all be worse.

      No one ever claimed Larrson was a Swedish Dickens, or for that matter even Faulkner, he is more of a Harold Robbins.

      I didn’t compare Larsson to any writer because his writing is incomparably bad. To mention the first two gentlemen in the same breath as Larsson is the equivalent of literary blasphemy. It is a rare thing for me not to finish a book I have started, but putting this junk down when I was about 20% of the way through it was one of the easiest things I have done in a long time. In fact, I only read that far in order to give it a fair chance. It failed miserably.

      I have never read anything by Robbins, but he certainly had a reputation for writing salacious trash. That being said, I did like the movie, “Nevada Smith”, which starred Steve McQueen.

      The three books end up about 9 hours of movie and some of the detail that KFZ doesn’t like are skimmed over.

      If the movies skimmed over the detail which I didn’t like there would only be about 10 minutes of film, if that.

      Serious though Steve, I found nothing in this book which could be called redeeming, socially or otherwise. It was a piece of trash from beginning to end. Forget the content. The writing was on the level of what might find in an elementary school. And this from a “journalist.” It was absolutely horrible. It was, literally, the worst book I have read in years!!!

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I’ve read one book by Robbins (and seen the movie), The Adventurers. It was popular on my floor my freshman year at Purdue. It certainly was salacious, but there was more to it than sex. I believe he also did The Carpetbaggers, which was a popular movie several years earlier (which I never saw).

        • Steve Lancaster says:

          Carpetbaggers was a loose bio of Howard Hughes and the Adventurers, if I recall correctly, was directed at the Perons, but its been a long time.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            It may have been about the Perons, but only loosely. The dictator takes power by a popular revolt (I think; details on that were vague), and at the end is overthrown (and killed) during another. Nor is there any equivalent of Evita.

      • Steve Lancaster says:

        Other than that, did you enjoy the play Mrs. Lincoln? 🙂

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        It was absolutely horrible. It was, literally, the worst book I have read in years!!!

        Thar’s yer problem. If instead of taking years, set aside a weekend for it. You might have a better reading experience.

        Sort of like:

        “Most of the time, travelers worry about their luggage.”

        vs.

        “Most of the time travelers worry about their luggage”

        Not being picky. Just being pedantic.

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