Friday, July 02, 2010

Tough Girl Heroines

I enjoyed the Swedish movie, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. The book, The Girl Who Played with Fire, less so. I don't think it's the translation, but rather the wandering bits that have nothing to do with the story. I don't care about every item of furniture that Lisabeth buys at Ikea for her multi-million dollar apartment. The movie, I have a feeling, cut to the heart of the story and kept the pace going where the book lost it. Perhaps, because the author died before the books were published, the publisher didn't feel free to do wholesale cutting of the manuscript. That's fine.

What I do admire is Lisabeth's calculating paranoia, her refusal to be kicked and not kick back (or be raped, and not rape back), and her inability to turn her back on someone she almost cares for. Carol O'Connell's Mallory character is very much like this - although Mallory was raised, after an early harrowing childhood wandering the streets of New York looking for her mother, by a loving police detective and his even more loving wife. While Mallory has every opportunity to rise above her early nightmares, she can't, or won't, do it, and remains pretty much a very icy fish indeed. Lisabeth's hard shell can be cracked.

I admire kick-ass heroines, as they're called in the biz. But there has to be a glimmer of marshmallow underneath all the take-no-prisoners bravado. Otherwise, the character's just plain psychotic.


Erica Orloff said...

I loved the first book; the second less so. I, too, wonder if his death (and the fascinating and tragic story of his estate) had to do with some of it. Even his hero needs his editor, LOL!

Also . . . to me, in the first book, I didn't know where the story was headed as it drifted toward violence (i.e., started with economics and finance). In book II, you know RIGHT UP FRONT the only way this one is ending is in a bad, bad way.


Tracy D said...

I agree, the second book's ending is way scary - and I knew it was coming, which made it worse.

Editors can be worth their weight in gold. Some tho, not so much. One of my fav authors, Stephen Becker, wrote a diatribe for the VQR that's priceless.