Having read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, where Lisbeth is identified as a real world Pippi, I have been planning to read the supposed inspiration for a long time. For the first few chapters, it is hard to imagine how Larsson could have based the character of Lisbeth on Pippi. Eventually I learned to warp Pippi’s world and squeeze it into the supposedly real world filled with rapists and thieves, where little girls have no super strength to get by on. I could then start to see how Larsson could have imagined, reading Pippi as an adult, that each of pippi’s little ‘adventures’ could have been a tragedy. Out of a thousand, one might survive. He decided to write about that one, a modern-day Pippi. For, you probably still need Pippi’s attitude to survive in a modern-day Sweden even if you don’t have her super powers – Lisbeth might have been an orphan and a rebel just like Pippi, she might only have her hacking skills as a proxy for Pippi’s super-strength, but at the end of the day both could kick some ass.
The review you have just read above is meant to illustrate how my reading of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo influenced my reading of Pippi Longstocking. Is it fair to even think of Lisbeth and of Larsson’s interpretation of the tale while reading it? Probably not. I wish I could read it far away from Lisbeth’s shadow. Do I blame Larsson now for spoiling some good fun? Probably yes. I just wish I had read Astrid first – of course I might never have heard of Pippi if not for Larsson. This is an issue I have faced with many books where the source is as enjoyable as the book that referred me to it, but less enjoyable for having read the referring work. How to get around this? Shall I drop everything and run to a bookstore the moment the slightest footnote pops up? They better stock up before I read Ulysses then.
- Where is Lisbeth Salander’s home? A review of Millennium Tour in Stockholm (brandsandfilms.com)
- Pippi Longstocking…. (trishborgdorff.wordpress.com)
- Pippi Longstocking – the original INGRID VANG NYMAN illustrations (yeahgrace.wordpress.com)
- Pippi Longstocking – Prinny’s invitations for a 7th birthday (haillo.wordpress.com)
- A Vigilante Love Affair with Lisbeth Salander (pheonixreview.wordpress.com)
- High Hopes, Punctured by Pippi Longstocking (reflectionsoramirroroflife.wordpress.com)
- Pippi at Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre (mommyfactor.net)