The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is ostensibly a murder mystery. Despite its 600+ page length and its detours into Swedish political intrigue, it’s much more than that and readers from teens to grandmas are taking it to the pool this summer. For those who haven’t read the book (or seen the movie!), I don’t want to spoil anything, but it’s pretty common knowledge at this point that one of the themes running through the book is sexual violence against women.
The author, the late Stieg Larsson, didn’t hold anything back in his descriptions about what was done to women throughout the book, including one of the main characters, Lisbeth Salander.
Some say it’s too much. But as someone who’s been the victim of domestic violence, and as we continue to see stories on cable news about real life women like Stephany Flores and Yeardley Love who have died at the hands of their abusers, I think that giving readers around the world a look at this type of violence without sugar-coating it is a way that we can move forward with reducing violent acts against women.
That’s what I’m writing about over at my weekly Speaker of the House column.
What do you think? Are graphic descriptions of violence against women just a gratuitous way to sell books or is it time to stare it in the face and not not turn away?