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Girl With a Pearl Earring: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
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(41)

2 Star

(13)

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(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

Chevalier is a Painter of Words

I actually watched the film first and I liked it, so I decided to give the book a chance and loved it! This is Holland in the 17th century where a young girl named Griet is forced to work at the house of Vermeer. She tells the story in first person. I felt her pain h...
I actually watched the film first and I liked it, so I decided to give the book a chance and loved it! This is Holland in the 17th century where a young girl named Griet is forced to work at the house of Vermeer. She tells the story in first person. I felt her pain having to leave home at such a young age. Women did not have many options during that era, either give in to men or be cast out, which Griet battled with. So many times I thought her and Vermeer would make a love connection, and Chevalier definitely added that romantic stress to the plot. As for the painting, the pearl earring was Vermeer's wife's possession and she was quite the vindictive lady, which unfortunately, Griet had to deal with the wrath of her jealousy.

posted by Anonymous on April 24, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

I was very disappointed in this book. Considering how popular it

I was very disappointed in this book. Considering how popular it is, I figured there would be more of a story to it. It's a short read, but I felt like I had to force myself through it. Page after page I was waiting for something to happen, but nothing really did. The b...
I was very disappointed in this book. Considering how popular it is, I figured there would be more of a story to it. It's a short read, but I felt like I had to force myself through it. Page after page I was waiting for something to happen, but nothing really did. The best way I can describe this book is to think of a dime store romance novel, but take away the romance. You're left with practically nothing. No point. I'm not saying I am disappointed in this book's lack of romance, but I am saying that there could have at least been a point to it if romance was thrown in there. As it is, there's just nothing to it.

The main character (Greit) lacked any sort of personality. She is one of the most boring and plain characters I've ever read in a novel. She rarely had emotion, and when she did have emotion, it was hard to believe. Almost as if the author tried to randomly throw in character development for the sake of development, rather than allowing the character's personality to naturally appear throughout the story.

I don't mean to completely dismiss the book. The overall details were interesting, particularly where Greit started and how she got to where she ended. It would have been a great book had the author simply been better at writing and putting together a story. That was no the case though.

posted by StacieRosePittard on April 11, 2012

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  • Posted April 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I was very disappointed in this book. Considering how popular it

    I was very disappointed in this book. Considering how popular it is, I figured there would be more of a story to it. It's a short read, but I felt like I had to force myself through it. Page after page I was waiting for something to happen, but nothing really did. The best way I can describe this book is to think of a dime store romance novel, but take away the romance. You're left with practically nothing. No point. I'm not saying I am disappointed in this book's lack of romance, but I am saying that there could have at least been a point to it if romance was thrown in there. As it is, there's just nothing to it.

    The main character (Greit) lacked any sort of personality. She is one of the most boring and plain characters I've ever read in a novel. She rarely had emotion, and when she did have emotion, it was hard to believe. Almost as if the author tried to randomly throw in character development for the sake of development, rather than allowing the character's personality to naturally appear throughout the story.

    I don't mean to completely dismiss the book. The overall details were interesting, particularly where Greit started and how she got to where she ended. It would have been a great book had the author simply been better at writing and putting together a story. That was no the case though.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2010

    Intrigued by the cover, but troubled with the plot

    Girl with a Pearl Earring was beautifully written, but I kept waiting for something "bigger" to happen. Bigger never came, but I did find myself staring at the painting on the cover over and over intrigued by her story. When she made her decision and "set [her] feet carefully along the edge of the point and went the way it told [her].", she went the wrong way! She should have run like a thief or a child because she was both.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2008

    ok

    This book was an all together dissapointment. It was very random and I had expected more. The ending was dissapointing and it felt like there wasn't a real point to the story. There was no moral or revelation. It was a story about a girl who falls in love with a married man who is just a little bit, in my opinion, on the creepy side, and thats it. Just a story. So, if thats what ur interested in, go for it but there are many better books out there.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2006

    A Major Disappointment

    I was so eager to read this book, and was so disappointed! I never got any real feeling for the main characters, other than serious dislike for Vereer and his family. I wanted to know this girl, and care about her, but I just couldn't.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2014

    to be completely honest, this book was not very good at all.  Th

    to be completely honest, this book was not very good at all.  The characters are not really developed at all.  There was almost no emotion coming from Griet, and whether or not she and Vemeer had a "thing" was very hard to tell.  Griet wasn't much of a character, getting walked all over by everyone. Vemeer was almost totally absent from the entire plot

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  • Posted February 12, 2013

    This book was a tremendous disappointment. I knew, however, when

    This book was a tremendous disappointment. I knew, however, when I saw that it was so short, I knew it could not be good. There are short stories which are amazing and magical. But this is a story screaming out for character development and climax. The main character had no personality. If she was in love with her master, she had a sorry way of expressing it. If he was in love with her, then he too had a weird way of expressing it. I hated the book. Sorry. I know many loved it, but I personally need more details and animation in the characters. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2002

    Not Quite a Vermeer

    Vermeer was a seventeenth-century Delft painter who is known for his uncanny ability to use and capture light. He recorded the simple, yet intimate, activities of daily goings-on with a balance and detail that brought the very breath of life to his paintings. Tracy Chevalier, in Girl With a Pearl Earring, attempts to use this same balance and detail to tell the story of Griet, a sixteen-year old servant girl working in Vermeer's household but she ends up with far less than Vermeerian results. Although strong in both mind and body, Griet comes from a poverty-stricken family. Her father, once a skilled painter of Delft tiles, has been blinded in a kiln explosion. It is the shy and naive Griet who seeks to provide the wages needed for the family's survival. In the Vermeer household, Griet must cope with seemingly endless loads of laundry and meals, five small children and Vermeer's continually-pregnant wife, Catharina. It is her artist's eye, however, that sets her apart from the other servants, for Griet can clean the master's studio without having seemed to have touched a thing. This book is woven around one of Vermeer's most famous paintings, The Girl With a Pearl Earring. It is a painting that is different from the religious scenes and those of daily life in Delft, so typical of Vermeer. The story is told from the point-of-view of Griet, the eventual model for the painting, rather than Vermeer, and therein lies much of the book's overwhelming problems. The story is told; it is not dramatized in scenes and, as such, it violates the first rule of good storytelling...Show, don't Tell. Griet's story is a simple and uncomplicated one as she struggles to make a real place for herself in the Vermeer household. As a Protestant, she is looked upon with suspicion by most of the members of this Catholic home, but she nevertheless attracts a young suitor who is determined to marry her, as she comes to play a major role in Vermeer's life as a helper who can not only clean his studio and organize his paints, but can actually help him to compose his paintings as well. The emotional tone of Girl With a Pearl Earring is flatter than the cliched pancake. In fact, the most exciting thing that happens to Griet is an infection after piercing one of her own ears. To be sure, the detail of daily life is rendered so finely and precisely that we feel we can actually smell the meat halls of Delft, hear the lively bustle of city life and suffer the quiet tragedy of a quarantine. But details alone do not a story make. Chevalier valiantly attempts to weave details from Vermeer's paintings into her story of Griet. The result fails, however, and what we are left with as an essay of Renaissance Delft. If an essay is what you are looking for, fine. If a compelling story is the object of your search, I think you will be very disappointed here.

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    Posted July 20, 2009

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