Girl with a Pearl Earring Review
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Iíll admit that I had an unfair advantage when I read this book. Not long before I read it, Iíd spent a month living in Delft, the Dutch town where the painter Johannes Vermeer once lived -- the same town that Tracy Chevalier wrote about in Girl with a Pearl Earring. Iíd spent four weeks wandering through the market and listening to the bells of the church. And that made the book come to life for me.

I may have picked up the book because of my love of Delft, but I kept turning page after page because of my love of the story. After all, Iím sure that the multitude of people who read this book before me (enough to put it on The New York Times Bestseller List) didnít all visit Delft before reading it. To them, it was a captivating story -- one that was difficult to put down without reading just one more page.

Girl with a Pearl Earring is about Griet, a young girl whoís forced to leave her family to become a maid after her father loses his sight and can no longer support the family. Grietís master, the painter Johannes Vermeer, hires her to help with household chores as well as to clean his studio -- which requires her to be able to clean carefully without moving the objects that heís painting. As she continues to work for Vermeer and his temperamental, perpetually-with-child wife, she gains Vermeerís trust -- as well as the favor of the butcherís son and the advances of her masterís patron. Meanwhile, she fights to separate herself from the life of her wealthy master and mistress -- and to try to remember who she is and where she came from.

The story may not be true, but Chevalier wrote it as though it were -- as though she knew Griet personally. Girl with a Pearl Earring is a story that will make any reader look back at his or her own teen years -- at the overwhelming emotions and the important decisions that had to be made. At the same time, Chevalier paints a beautiful picture of seventeenth-century Delft -- and of Vermeerís work. Girl with a Pearl Earring is a bestseller for a reason -- and I encourage you to pick up a copy of your own and discover it for yourself.

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