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“Review: Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier.
“Girl with a Pearl Earring was captivating. It really brought me into an aspect of time period that I really did not know existed. It was extremely interesting to read about the process that an artist can go through in order to create that perfect picture. The most interesting aspect of the novel for me was the struggle that Griet faced when deciding how to balance her role as a maid and a subject of a painting. That emotional conflict was fascinating and was portrayed very well by Chevalier. ”Kerry Mallinson wrote this review Sunday, September 22, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I did enjoy this, and it read quickly, in one sitting, although I felt a little underwhelmed given the praise of the novel.
The story is told first person from the point of view of Griet, a maid who is sixteen-years-old when she first becomes a maid for the Vermeers, her master being the great 17th Century Dutch painter. The style mostly comes across as spare, with short simple, choppy sentences--other than some simile abuse in the beginning. I liked the details of a painter's technique and an artist's way of seeing and this story of how the famous masterpiece, Girl with the Pearl Earring came to be, even if I found how the plot developed rather predictable. I also liked how the author portrayed the tensions of the household, economic and domestic; the author was good at conveying the dangers and vulnerabilities of Griet's position.
I had issues though. How Griet lost her virginity seemed jarringly unhistorical to me, especially given the value placed on chastity in that era, as well as all the fuss Griet made about keeping her hair modestly all tucked in, and concern for all the proprieties, I'd think any...courtship would be more restrained--that even kisses, let alone the groping depicted would be out of line with someone you intended marrying. And the associated symbolism of the pierced ears seemed to me overwrought. I have pierced ears myself--when I had it done, I didn't come anywhere near fainting. I also found the ultimate crisis inexplicable. The novel established that a servant had been used as a model before. That objects belonging to Vermeer's wife had been borrowed before as props for his paintings with her knowledge. Given all that, it seems hard to understand that using her pearl earring was such a great secret and betrayal. (Unless, of course, it's that everyone sensed the bond between master and servant and thus knew it could be a touchy situation--or just all it being kept secret was the betrayal.)
In the end, I thought this wasn't bad for fan fiction. I don't mean that disparagingly, but simply that what makes the story of interest is the attempt to fill out the details of how a beloved painting came to be. But as historical or artistic fiction, the characters, plot and setting wound up feeling...sketchy to me.”
“Review: Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier.
I enjoyed reading this book. Tracy Chevalier captured the essence of the painting and wrote in words the story of Griet, a protestant young girl and the talented Catholic Johannes Vermeer, the painter. I quickly got attached to the characters and smitten by the descriptive poise style writing. The flow of words kept me fascinated with the story’s plot and events surrounding Griet and Vermeer.
First Chevalier begins with the young girl’s story why she needed to leave home to work as a maid, only to see her family on Sunday’s. Griet also inherited her father’s artistic sensitivity to submitted form, angles and color because her father was a glass blower through her young life. So, by getting the maids job with the Vermeer’s family was an asset to both her and Vermeer.
Other character’s such as Catherine, Vermeer wife, was a young woman who could be spiteful at times, she was accountable to no one but herself and very naïve throughout the book. Then the reader gets to meet Maria, the mother and overseer of the house. She is clever and resourceful and never let’s her guard down and at times takes to the shadow of the family’s surroundings and events to make herself invisible, unknown to what’s going on when she is really the culprit.
By the time Vermeer gets around to notice Griet, her life begins to change. With no intent she becomes his aide and finally, a model for the famous painting. So, many things started changing in the house as to what work Griet would be doing. Going from being over burdened with chores and snide remarks from others, Griet has less chores, treated better, more freedom and given a room over the studio where Vermeer paints, which is the attic. It becomes her bedroom and a place off to the side where she aides Vermeer grinding his materials he uses to make his color for his paintings.
Much more happens throughout the story involving Griet’s family and the Vermeer’s family, until the final days in the story that unravels the story behind the painting….
As an unpublished artist myself, of many oil paintings I do own a reprint of THE LITTLE STREET by Johannes Vermeer, 1658 I bought in New York a few years back hanging in my living room…..His work is great and I believe Tracy Chevalier captured his artistic character in this wonderful story.
“great bbok, filled with yearning and desire.”Oliwia wrote this review Monday, August 26, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The novel begins in the 1600's in the Dutch city of Delft. Here lives a 16 year-old girl, Griet who leaves her family to work for the famous artist, Vermeer. She is sent out to work because of the lose of her father's eye sight.
When Vermeer seeks out Griet, he sees the artistic talent she has by the way she separates her vegetables. As she begins to live with the family, Griet is inspired by her creating a painting of her.
In this novel the pearl earring is significant in the book. However, you will have to read more to find out!! I highly recommend this book and I hope you enjoy it as well!!!”
“An okay read, I was waiting for the main character to embark on an affair, which would have made the book far more exciting. Nothing much happens.”Clurr wrote this review Thursday, August 22, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The beginning was a little uninteresting but as the story progressed I couldn't stop reading, the characters seemed so real and the book was well-written. ”Hiba wrote this review Saturday, August 10, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The subject of Girl with a Pearl Earring is not a portrait, but a painting intended to show interesting characteristics, expressions, or poses. She is seen as a personification of beauty and charm, and her charm is universal. Interesting book with some intrigue.”Bev wrote this review Wednesday, August 14, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No