In The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson explores a world of secrets through the eyes of Lisbeth Salander, who was inspired by a girl of the same name who the late author witnessed being raped at fifteen. He regretted not being able to help the girl and was thus inspired to use her namesake. Originally called Män som hatar kvinnor in Sweden, literally: Men who Hate Women, this is a trilogy of pain, adventure, love and betrayal, and all the baggage that comes attached. Larsson’s lead female is a whirlwind. A fascinating hacker with a rebellious lifestyle and a trove of horrible secrets, Salander is amazing. Similarly, these indie picks feature some amazing protagonists of their own.
If you liked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, you’ll love:
Why Me? by Sarah Burleton explores the life of a child in turmoil. Heart-wrenchingly good writing renders a story of abuse that is brief but oh so powerful. Burleton’s gripping narrative began indie, stayed indie, and is a NY Times Bestseller on the Non-fiction E-Book list. There are a lot of tales about abuse out there, but many leave us feeling down, dark and hopeless. This one is conversely uplifting, as the author blossoms despite the horror she endured. Burleton overcomes her personal tragedy just like Salander does.
The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan is another tale of a female protagonist who, much like Lisbeth Salander of the Millenium Trilogy, suffers crippling fear as a result of brutal abuse. Darcie Chan’s sweet story showcases Mary McAllister; a widow who is disfigured as a result of her late husband’s outbursts. In Mary’s case, she does not turn to a life of rebellion, but is inspired to give back to her town despite agoraphobia. One of the most detailed and beautifully written narratives out there, Mill River explores how one who has struggled so intimately with their demons can overcome.
The Stovepipe by Bonnie Virag is a memoir that introduces the author at four years old as she is torn from her siblings, and painfully separated from her twin at the hands of foster care. With fewer and fewer of her many siblings to help her, Bonnie is tormented by the foster parents she had hoped would care for her. Each time it seems that she may have a moment of peace, it is shattered. In rural Canada, Bonnie fights to survive in the face of intense adversity. Even though the memoir is full of pain, Bonnie comes out on top with a family of her own.
Come Back to Me by Melissa Foster is a story of a woman who has everything. However, in the wake of a tragic helicopter crash that leaves her husband fighting for his life in dangerous territory, she must endure a painful struggle. Tess Johnson believes Beau is dead, and regrets not telling him she is pregnant before he left. Meanwhile Beau fights to survive in the Iraqi desert, found on the brink of death by two women fleeing honor killings. Beau is nursed back to health by the women who (also like Lisbeth Salander) are persecuted for their beliefs. Next comes the tricky part: will Beau, Suha and Samira and her children be able to escape? Come Back to Me is a five star page turner.
Father Tierney Stumbles by John Shekleton is the story of a closeted Catholic priest who struggles with his identity. Should Joe Tierney come out and reveal his sexuality along with his newly discovered HIV positive status, or will the velvet curtains of the church keep him ensconced in torment? Shekleton takes a character that has a deep dark secret and turns him into a strong man who faces the truth. As Joe Tierney battles what he thinks is “the right way to live” he learns a great deal about himself, meets a men’s group that becomes his support network, and seems like he will be just fine. When a local reporter gets wind of an AIDS scandal in the priesthood, all is turned upside down. With an air of mystery that keeps the pages turning, Father Tierney Stumbles leaves us amazed at Joe’s predicament and all the answers he does find.
All of these titles have to do with uncomfortable lives and the choices made to overcome adversity in some way. Just like Lisbeth Salander finds her place in the world (eventually) each of these indie protagonists find theirs as well. Readers will love these titles if they enjoyed the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.