I'm really glad I've enjoyed all of Tracy Chevalier's novels so far, since for some reason I bought several of them before ever reading anything by her. They are quick, light, fun reads that don't feel like pure fluff. While at first I thought about not posting anything about The Girl with the Pearl Earring- it was good, but there's not a lot to really talk about - but then I realized how much it made me appreciate my life.
Greit, the main character, is forced to become a maid to help feed her family. She works all day at hard labor six days a week. On her day off, she goes back home to see her parents and go to church and turn over her wages so they can eat. When offered an opportunity for marriage, she has to take it, and will still have a life of hard work ahead of her.
When you think about that, I feel guilty for the things I complain about, especially when I've complained about work over the years. Even at my lowest career points, I've never had to do hard physical labor six days a week, morning to night! I've never had to put up with my bosses' bratty children trying to get me in trouble or make my job harder. Even in a bad economy, there were still options and places to move on to.
I would never be in a position where I need to marry someone for money or security. I didn't have to settle for someone I just liked because they could take care of me. Sometimes I think we complain inadvertently about the fact that we have choices. We choose our careers, our spouses, where we live - in most ways our lot in life is up to us. Instead of being grateful for having choices, we whine about it. So, while also having an interesting story, this book made me appreciate what I have!