Girl With a Pearl Earring

Girl With a Pearl Earring

 
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Girl With a Pearl Earring
Publisher
Age Range
16+
Release Date
August 16, 1999
ISBN
052594527X
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(Updated: August 19, 2013)
Overall rating 
 
3.3
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4.0

Girl With A Pearl Earring

A little while ago, I read the book "Girl With A Pearl Earring" by Tracy Chevalier. It is a historical novel based on the classic and enchanting painting by Johannes Vermeer; I purchased it from "The Sunday Times contemporary collection" section in Waterstones. The way in which it is written is stunning - timeless, and enjoyable for all. It's a very atmospheric book, the words allow you to really delve into the mystery of Johannes Vermeer's mind and 1665 Delft, Holland. Although the story is simply fiction and has been adapted from circumstances, it is still wonderfully endearing and undeniably romantic. You are able to really empathize with Griet, the maid for the Vermeer household, as you gradually see her fall in love with Johannes, and her vulnerability as an inferior citizen - both as a female and a peasant. The further you get into the plot, the more sharp and magical it becomes. It is a classic tale, lovingly written and radiantly structured. Definitely worth a read.

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Great Girl Read!

Girl With A Pearl Earring is worthy of its place among other New York Times Best Sellers. Chevalier does an excellent job of making the reader feel he or she grew up with Griet, the main character. This novel is a good read for anybody, but especially those who are in their coming-of-age stage and young girls who need a reminder of how some girls live their lives. Have you ever felt like doing one thing, but been forced to do something else? Griet lived with this predicament her whole life.

Griet lives with her mom, dad, and sister in Delft, Holland until the age 16, at which point she was sent to work as a maid in the Vermeer household. The day the Vermeer family first met Griet, she had no idea what was going on. Her first day going to their house was a decision she had no say in. This is just one of the several thoughts Griet thinks about her knew lifestyle as a Vermeer maid. “I followed that point of the star now, walking across the square more slowly than everyone else, for I was reluctant to leave its familiarity” (13-14). From the beginning, it is very clear that Griet doesn’t like change.

A little while into the book, Griet meets the butcher’s son, Pieter. Here is what she was thinking about when he saw her, “he was taller than his father, he had the same bright blue eyes. His blond hair was long and thick with curls, framing a face that made me think of apricots. Only his bloody apron was displeasing to the eye. His eyes came to rest on me like a butterfly on a flower and I could not keep from blushing” (39-40). This quote is the second time Griet refers to aprons being bloody, for her old butcher always wore clean items. It is the first time the reader can pick up on Griet’s Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and her having thoughts about boys.

During the day Griet works as a maid for the family, but in the mornings and nights she is busy helping Vermeer with his paintings. She mixes paints, makes suggestions, and models for some portraits. The Vermeer family is Catholic, so on Sundays, Griet is able to go home to attend Protestant church with her family as well as eat with them and sometimes Pieter. Sometimes the dinners go well, but as the book progresses Griet’s family begins to falls apart.

The message conveyed from Girl With A Pearl Earring is forced ¬¬¬choices can lead to bigger discoveries. The first time Johannes asked Griet to grind paint for him she wasn’t enthusiastic about the task. From doing what he asks, Griet learned that there is more to a painting then the top coat of colors, if you look closely you can see a whole new picture. “After that I could not stop looking at things” (101). Griet had a whole new insight to how she looked at things all from mixing colors for her master.
Chevalier makes each character unique. Pieter comes across as the dirty meat boy but in reality he is a well-kept guy. Catharina, Johannes’s wife, is snobby and in charge in the beginning, but it is clear she is not the one in charge of the house. Griet is afraid of finding herself and accepting who she is when she has many opportunities given to her. Many of the characters grow up in the book and allow the reader to see two sides of each one’s personality.

As Griet battles the choices she is given, she matures as a person. Girl With a Pearl Earring was one of the best books I’ve read and I would not think twice before recommending it to a friend. This coming-of-age novel shows the reader how to deal with tough decisions. Chevalier did a wonderful job of tying in maturity and love to give a heart-touching story.

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OMG...MY NEW FAVORITE!!!

Reader reviewed by jax

This book was marvelous! Even though it was set in a previous era, the language was still easy to understand, which it usually is not. The characters each had their own way of compelling you to finish the story, and the main character, Griet, made you want to laugh and cry at the same time. The decisions she had to make were horrible, but at the same time, you learned so much about what life was like for a girl back in that time. I absoluetly loved it...now let's go watch the movie!!!( which i am sure will not do it justice)

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In love with an artist.

Reader reviewed by Amanda D.


Griet is a sixteen-year old girl who lives in the 1600's Delft. To raise money for her family, she becomes a housemaid to the painter Johannes Vermeer and his wife, mother-in-law and children. After a few weeks of cleaning his art room, he teaches her how to mix the paints for him. One day while she is cleaning, he notices how she would be a good model. Secretly, he paints her in different cleaning poses. She develops feelings for him and he for her. He then wants her to pierce her ear and wear his wife's earring for a painting. Problems arise later. There is also the butcher's son who Griet starts to date.

I like this book because it teaches me about another time and place. It is a good interpretation of a story through a sixteen-year old girl's eyes and how she is feeling. I like the romance.

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Good book

Reader reviewed by lookwaticando08

This book is really good. I was really surprised. It is about a girl who is a servant for an artist. I really like how she was so quiet and nice to people. It is a very good story. It has everything a book should have: action, romance, and sadness.

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Great Historical Fiction

Reader reviewed by Ria

In 1660s, Griet was living with her parents and sister. Her father had an accident at a tile factory, where he worked, causing him to become blind. Since there was no income, and her parents wouldn't accept charity, Griet was forced to become a maid at the house of a Dutch painter, Johannes Vermeer.

Griet's welcome wasn't very friendly. Vemeer's wife, Catharina, didn't like her. Her daughter, Cornelia, didn't like her either, making Griet's life somtimes impossible. One of Griet's jobs was to go to the market. At the butchers, she met Pieter.

Another job she had was cleaning Vermeer's studio. Soon, Vermeer's asked her to work for him, like grinding objects to make paint. She becomes his assistant, along with doing her other chores, leaving her no time for herself except on Sundays. It was on Sundays that Pieter came to her house and had lunch with her family.

Van Ruijven, a wealthy man who usually bought Vermeer's paintings, took a liking to Griet and asked her to pose with him. But he wasn't an honorable man, so Vermeer and his mother in law did everything possible to avoid Griet from spending time with him. To make up for it, Van Ruijven asked for a painting of Griet.

Before the painting was finished, Vermeer thought that there was something missing. He then wanted Griet to wear Catharina's pearl earring. Griet didn't want to because Catharing already hated her. When the painting was done, Catharina found out about it and Griet ran away. She goes to Pieter and marries him.

I thought that this was a really good historical fiction book. It told a lot about the life and times of a Dutch painter and a maid at that time period. It was almost as if you could picture the time square and other parts of the city. Some of the Dutch names were hard to pronounce though. Apparently, Girl with a Pearl Earring was one of Vermeer's famous paintings, but I don't remember seeing it. Now, I want to see his paintings, especially after reading the book.

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