Twelve-year-old Oskar is a kid who's having a very hard life right now. He lives alone with his ever-working mother, his dad is an alcoholic and he is being horribly bullied at school. He is so miserable he even pees his pants on a daily basis. His only escape is to imagine the gory ways he could kill the kids that bully him. He practices with his knife on the near by trees. Then, a strange girl called Eli has just arrived to the neighborhood with her dad, Hakan. She smells weird, she's never cold, and she has no idea what a Rubik's Cube is. Around the same time, the body of a teenage boy is found, emptied of blood. Then, there's another body... What's going on in the suburb of Blackeberg?
I really thought I was going to like this book a lot more, but the truth is, I couldn't care for any of the characters. Sure, I wanted Oskar to stop suffering, but that was about it. I found the book to be unnecessary gore and crude. I usually like to read those things in a book, but it didn't work for me here. I understand that the author wanted this to be a very dark book, but I felt that, for instance, the pedophilia aspect was absolutely irrelevant to the story. It didn't add anything to the plot, so it seemed excessive. I don't know what is it with Swedish authors, but they have the tendency to write decadent people, with meaningless lives and petty personalities. Normally this is useful to the story, but it only made the story a little bit boring. The book tried so hard to be dark that in my opinion it started to lose credibility.
But besides those things, I was interested in learning how everything was going to end up, and I do appreciate the insight the story gives us into what it really means to be bullied, which is something way too many people suffer these days and yet parents still fail to teach their kids not to bully others. It is a horrible way to live and it has got to stop. Oh, and I especially liked the basement scene with Hakan, a kid, and the shooting trophy. I can't say more than that, but in my opinion it was THE greatest scene in the book.
Three stars and I will watch the movies adaptations!