GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING. Paperback – 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
The young girl Grit becomes a maid in the household of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. We hear about her life and passions, and her family, but she is a very unrealistic character, and you really feel that she is being written by a much older woman.
The writer shows none of Grit's emotions, just tells you what they are, in a very unconvincing and detached way.
It seems unlikely, that a girl so young should be as confident, unimpressed by life and manipulating as Grit is! It hardly affects her leave her family, to fall in love or loose her virginity, nothing really surprises her, and she apparently can do everything better than everyone else: this uneducated young maid is even able to tell the master painter how to paint better!
Appart from a cliched fascination with her MASTER Vermeer(that seems more like a badly formulated erotic fantasy of the author's than anything realistic) Grit shows no emotion, and the plot is unbalanced and boring. You never develop any sympathy for any of the characters, and the symbolism is MUCH to heavy.
The book left me cold an bored. The only reason why it gets 2 stars, is the description and information about Vermeers paintings, which were interesting. Chevalier completely fails to make a credible portrait of a young girl (Grit is more like a 40 year old woman), and the historcal descriptions aren't very good either.
Vermeer painted to live: whether he also lived to paint is the question. Exactly the question the book asks us to think about. His family depend upon him painting and upon patrons buying and commissioning his work. As a result, everyone is paying. And the symbol of all the payments is the pearl earring. Vermeer trades something to get it into the painting, where we think it should be, but then we are unaware of any paintings of the same girl without a pearl earring. His mother in law pays with treachery. His wife pays with suffering. And the girl pays with personal obscurity, and everlasting fame.
And only we benefit.
Makes you think, doesn't it?
However, I can see how some people would not like this book. Not alot really happens and I imagin (though I haven't seen it) that the film version is rather slow and boring. As I read it in a day I dont think I had time to get bored with it. The characters are not particluary memerable and some seem very flat at times. It's supposed to be a book about passion but I didn't feel much between any of the characters. Although Griet may have felt it for her master, until he left her the earrings at the end I don't think I felt anything at all from him though out the whole book, and as a result I didn't care about this character. I don't know anything about the real Vermeer so I have no idea if he acted anything like he did in the story.
Despite it's faults I did really enjoy this book and as long as your someone who can relex and read something that's not packed full of action I think you'll probably enjoy it too.
I loved this book! In fact, it is hard for me right now to go on to another book. I want to stay in Griet's world--I don't want to leave her. I think that is what a good book is supposed to do for a reader. In additon, it made me curious about Vermeer's life. Oh, I knew his paintings, but I wanted more. What was the real Vermeer like? I have searched out his biography and marveled at how Chevalier intertwined fact with fiction.
Perhaps my feelings for this story are because I listened to the audio version of this book. Ms. Phimister is a master at narration and is truly able to place the reader into the character of Griet. In any event, this book will always remain one of my all time favorites!
This review refers to the unabridged audiocassette edition.
Most recent customer reviews
This was an interesting story in concept, however, I found the writing style to be lacking in detail and emotion. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Shari Cooper
A beautiful landscape of 17th Century Holland, this rich book made me a Tracey Chevalier fan. Her deep understanding of servant life, she introduces us to Griet, a maid forced to... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Carole P. Roman
I really loved this book and recommend it to anyone wanting an easy, delightful read.Published 15 months ago by Candice Bunting
A good read. The Characters were well developed and intertwined throughout the story line. The size of their worlds matched the struggles of the minds to fit the era of cultural... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Bonnie
I bought this book at a second-hand book sale, as I'd heard of the movie but never knew the author...and what a lovely surprise! Read morePublished on May 31 2012 by Jan
This novel tells the story of a young Dutch girl during the 17th century. The 16 year old daughter of a tile painter becomes a maid in the household of Johannes Vermeer to help... Read morePublished on July 9 2007 by Toni Osborne
i have never seen the film, so my mind was completely open to the literaries, this book was one of the most pleasant and smoothly worded books i have read for a long time. Read morePublished on July 31 2006 by paula b
A very good read for a rainy day. The odd thing about this book that I found was that, after you read a book you are supposed to be able to analyze its characters and know them a... Read morePublished on July 9 2005
I don't usually tend to veer too far off the beaten path when it comes to books. Tending to stick with bestsellers like "Life of Pi" or "Bark of the Dogwood" my... Read morePublished on July 28 2004