I just finished the third book in this series, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest. The title hit a little close to home because a month ago I stepped on a hornet’s nest and got two nasty stings. Ouch. It’s the final book in The Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson, who died suddenly after turning in the three manuscripts. They are a great read. While James Patterson writes police mysteries and John Grisham writes lawyer mysteries, The Millenium Trilogy are journalist mysteries.
Though the main character is journalist Mikael Blomkvist, who is no doubt based on Larsson himself, the character that makes the trilogy so good is Lisbeth Salander. She is written as a character who most people do not like. She is honest to the point of being offensive and utterly lacking both in subtlety and consideration. Her Wikipedia page claims that she has Asbergers, which seems a stretch, but like John Nash she is both incredibly brilliant and socially inept.
What makes Larsson’s work so amazing is that he makes this socially inept woman someone for whom you genuinely like. She is rude to everyone, doesn’t do much of anything to deserve friendship, and yet you want to be her friend and you want others to be her friend. It’s brilliant writing, but it points to a larger truth that is the subject of this post: everyone is likable.
That’s not to say that I like everyone, or that you should either. But by golly, if so many people can like Lisbeth Salander, then many people can like just about anyone. The unlikable may take more effort, but they are worth it. Lisbeth Salander is worth it, and the people you and I know are worth it too. If we haven’t figured out why and judge them as being unlikable, that’s our mistake. God made human beings, looked over all of creation and said “It is excellent!” May we find that excellence in others as Stieg Larsson has helped us do with Lisbeth Salander in the Millenium Trilogy.