Review: Girl With a Pearl Earring

Girl With a Pearl Earring
Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Girl With a Pearl Earring was part of my English curriculum this year. I found in it things that attracted me and things that repelled me – all fighting over the same pages.

This piece of historical fiction is based on the painting by Johannes Vermeer in the 17th century Holland. It tells the story of what may or may not have happened between the painter and his nameless subject to put that ambiguous look on her face.

I quickly fell in love with Chevalier’s style of writing. Her characters reached across the centuries and felt multidimensional and relatable. Furthermore, instead of spoon-feeding readers with the name of the emotion she wants them to feel in a particular scene, she shows the physical response of Griet and the other characters. Readers must imagine for themselves what might be in her heart, and in doing so, they find that they have experienced it for themselves. This is “showing, not telling” at its finest.

So why only three stars? [spoiler] Girl With a Pearl Earring has multiple sensual scenes, including a sex scene. It may be argued that Chevalier’s book is for a “mature” audience. However, no matter the age of the reader, it just isn’t wise to fill one’s mind with sensual material. For this reason, I would not recommend Girl With a Pearl Earring, particularly not to readers who want to fill their mind with wholesome literature that glorifies God.

I applaud Tracy Chevalier for her brilliant writing style. I hope that she will discover true value in using her skills for wholesome purposes.

Share your thoughts

  • Have you read Girl With a Pearl Earring? What do you like or dislike about it?
  • Do you enjoy historical fiction?
  • What do you like/dislike about the cover design?

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