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Chasing Vermeer Paperback – May 1, 2005
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About the Author
Brett Helquist was born in Ganado, Arizona, and grew up in Orem, Utah. He entered Brigham Young University as an engineering major, but soon realized this was not the right choice for him. Having decided to take time off from college, he headed to Taiwan where he stumbled into a job illustrating English textbooks, which he enjoyed. There, a friend introduced him to an illustration student, also from Brigham Young University. This introduction inspired Brett to eventually switch majors. After spending a year in Taiwan, he went back to BYU and transferred to the illustration department. In 1993 he received a fine arts degree in illustration.
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Top customer reviews
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This book frustrated me much in the same way that Harry Potter has. The author just takes too many liberties to allow the reader to feel part of the story. It feels unfair when an author gets to have a surprise hidden panel in the wall at the end of the story. I don't know if this is so much true for all genres. A mystery, however, should be tight. It needs to feel like a completed puzzle at the end - either leaving you feeling satisfied that you called it right, or amazed at how well it all came together. When it feels like a jumble that nobody could have pieced together except the author (and even appears that the author took pains to make it more complicated than necessary) it just doesn't work. In some cases of literature (and art!), when you think "I could have made that," it is a compliment on how easy the creator made it look. In the case of Chasing Vermeer, and knowing full well my limitations as a writer, thinking "I could have written that" is not a good thing.
For a book club book, I think this will still be a delight to young readers. If the club is given all the extra ingredients to completely lose themselves in a world of mathematical and artistic mystery, fall in love with Chasing Vermeer. I have only read this book aloud with students. To independently read it as a book club, students would probably need to be older and have strategies for figuring out the references the book makes.
A few years ago I also enjoyed an adult fiction by Tracy Chevalier about the same artist and another of his famous paintings, Girl with a Pearl Earring. It was later made into a beautiful "art" film starring the very handsome and tremendously talented actor Colin Firth.
It is always a pleasure to shed light (no pun intended) on the work of a great master artist.
Here's the trick. Take Tommy and Calder's code. The letter of the pentomino then the number of frogs. If you take you just look at the pictures you don't even have to read the book. But, I would recommend reading it because it just gives you that thrill feeling.