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Customer Review

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not an important book, but partially interesting, March 14, 2012
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This review is from: "There Are Things I Want You to Know" About Stieg Larsson and Me (Paperback)
Miss Gabrielsson's book is certainly not an important work. But it is kind of interesting in spots. Overall, though, it comes across as a whining and bitter argument for how the world has mistreated her. The book seems to be her way of trying desperately to insert herself into the Stieg Larsson story, and her way to force us to consider her as part of the literary world created by the trilogy. More than anything I found her plaintive wails for attention rather tedious, punctuated at times by sharp annoyance. Second to that I sensed a profound sadness about this pathetic creature.

I don't know if Miss Gabrielsson is a poor writer, or the English translation was exceptionally bad, or if it was the depressing stories she told- but this book, in English, comes across as badly written and stylistically awkward. She does describe, if her accounts are to be taken at face value, how Larsson's family and Swedish law may have denied her wifely rights to Larsson's fortune. We can all understand her frustrattion, and we ourselves might have reacted even worse than she had, if we were in her position.

But something about the convoluted and sly manner in which she weaves her story that does not generate any sympathy for her cause- at least not from me. The fact that all we have is her word for it- one must conclude that if she and Larsson really did consider themselves man and wife, life partners, why on earth didn't they do something about it in those 32 years Gabrielsson is eager to recall over and over? Thinking her plight through one must conclude that given that much time, and that much inaction, that while the present results for her might be distasteful to Gabrielsson, but they are simply the way things are. I found myself saying she should "suck it up," as we say here- recognize the mess life has dealt her, and move on.

I stumbled onto Stieg Larsson's trilogy after visiting Sweden 3 years ago. I heard a literary critic on the radio making the observation that the heroine of the books, Lisbeth Salander, was a "grown up Pippi Longstocking." That comment alone got me to purchase a set. I LOVED the Larsson books- and the fact that they became best sellers in the States around that time did not surprise me.

At first I felt it was a loss for readers everywhere that Larsson had died so young. I was intrigued by what kind of man he might have been, and wanted to know more, but found the biographical information available here in the States very scant and unsatisfying. If Miss Gabrielsson's version of their life together is to be believed, or even taken with a pound of salt, there might have been a reason why the publishers kept Larsson's life a mystery. He was much more interesting when I knew nothing about him! Reading all of Gabrielsson's anecdotes of Stieg's life- she painted him as a rather insecure, self-righteous, and maybe even miserable communist who couldn't quite find his way in life. Yuck!

It reminded me of coming up on an enchanting vision of a woman on the sidewalk as I drove past her- craning my neck to catch a glimpse of what surely must the a captivating and beautiful face, only to find her visage very ordinary (like me!). I have often thought it is better to leave intriguing "visions" of beauty and mystery exactly that- mysteries. Don't look too closely, or you may well lose what could have been a nice little remembrance of grace by exposing it to the unflattering cold light of day.

Gabrielsson's story is like that- it was mildly interesting to learn a bit about Larsson- but her portrait was so dreary, she spoiled a minor "hero" figure for me. Ah well- that's life. Maybe it's for the best? At any rate, it's too late now.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 29, 2012 7:33:05 PM PDT
JR says:
she should "suck it up?" she's "desperate"? what kind of hard-hearted reader/person are you? she actually KNEW this author whereas you are just another uninformed fanboy nutless wannabe. gee, you found her to be bitter and too depressed? how would YOU feel if your spouse of 32 years up and died young on you? and so what even if she DID want to inherit his estate; she deserves it as, at the least, a common law wife here in the state of texas after only a few years, never mind 32. you, and all the other right wing dittoheads who didn't get this book and pissed on it just can't stand it that she told the truth and that your literary hero was left wing in his politics or that he was a feminist. or, like many if not most real artists/writers, the man was insecure and imperfect. now go back to your romance novels and fox news happy endings...and buy your stieg larsson t-shirt. rest assured, he would have thought you guys were the truly sad and bitter ones, not eva. jesus...

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 19, 2014 6:05:31 AM PST
Bookworm says:
I Don't see why this post is considered irrelevant.
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