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nataliya

nataliya

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” 
― Stephen King, On Writing.

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"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."— J.K. Rowling

The Girl Who Played with Fire - Stieg Larsson Stieg Larsson doesn't really do subtle. If he thinks an issue is important, he will shout it from the rooftops. With a megaphone. But since he is condemning misogyny and violence towards women, I'm ok with that."Salander was the woman who hated men who hate women." This book, much more than its predecessor, focuses on the tiny-but-tough Lisbeth Salander. We learn quite a bit about the fascinating and horrific backstory that led to Salander developing her unique, defensive, prickly personality."Don’t ever fight with Lisbeth Salander. Her attitude towards the rest of the world is that if someone threatens her with a gun, she’ll get a bigger gun." But don't let the focus on Lisbeth fool you - essentially, this book should have been simply titled Men Who Hate Women, Part II (Men Who Hate Women was the original title of the first Swedish book, before it was changed to include a more marketable dragon tattoo) as its main theme remains the same as its predecessor's, repeated and restated countless times. And that's why I liked this otherwise far from perfect book.Yet again, Larsson determinedly exposes the unlikable aspects of society - misogyny and adherence to judgmental standards and gender norms that are ever-present even in the European paradise of Sweden. The surface mystery is just that - a plot device, an excuse to get a new angle on Larsson's favorite topic. We see the various shades and sides of hatred towards women, especially if they try to get out of the bounds that society neatly places for them. This is reflected first and foremost in the awful treatment that Salander receives, but also in the treatment of Lisbeth's mother, Sonia Bodig, and the helpless and easily ignored by the society victims of sex trafficking. "When all the media assertions were put together, the police appeared to be hunting for a psychotic lesbian who had joined a cult of Satanists that propagandized for S&M sex and hated society in general and men in particular."I loved the no-compromise and no-subtlety message that this book delivers on the subjects that are indeed not subtle and should not be compromised on. However, I could not help but sigh and eyeroll at Larsson's less-than-perfect prose. His books could have really benefited from the generous use of editor's red pen. (But I do understand that these books were published posthumously and therefore probably not much was cut out out of respect to the dead author.) My gripes are similar to those of many other readers - the tediousness of every minute detail, the never-ending parade of brand names reading like an ad at times, and what feels like the entire Ikea catalog making a special appearance. This diary-like filler could have been easily cut out, leaving a much shorter and much sharper book. I also giggled at the author's self-insertion and clear wish-fulfillment in the memorable figure of incorruptible and irresistible journalist Blomkvist. And how can I forget a grating pet-peeve of not getting a medical condition right: A person who does not feel pain is destined for a rather disabled existence rather than becoming an indestructible superhero. Really. You can Google that.The final grade is 3 stars - full marks for the awesome message of the story, but points taken off for far-from-perfect execution."His attitude had always been that if a woman clearly indicated that she did not want anything more to do with him, he would go on his way. Not respecting such a message would in his eyes, show a lack of respect for her."