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.