A Piece of the World

A Piece of the World

by Christina Baker Kline

Overview: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the smash bestseller Orphan Train, a stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s mysterious and iconic painting Christina’s World.

"Later he told me that he’d been afraid to show me the painting. He thought I wouldn’t like the way he portrayed me: dragging myself across the field, fingers clutching dirt, my legs twisted behind. The arid moonscape of wheatgrass and timothy. That dilapidated house in the distance, looming up like a secret that won’t stay hidden."

To Christina Olson, the entire world is her family farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. The only daughter in a family of sons, Christina is tied to her home by health and circumstance, and seems destined for a small life. Instead, she becomes Andrew Wyeth’s first great inspiration, and the subject of one of the best-known paintings of the twentieth century, Christina’s World.

As she did in her beloved bestseller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction to vividly reimagine a real moment in history. A Piece of the World is a powerful story of the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, her complicated relationship to her family and inheritance, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.

Debbie Weiss (08/05/18): There is not really much I can add to the wonderful reviews by Faith, Judy and Martha. This is an excellent book, and the main character, Christina Olson, touches the reader's heart. An individual who had health issues from early on, she never gave in to her malady. Life threw her a lot of obstacles, but she persisted. I believe that her dynamic spirit is what inspired Andrew Wyeth, who had Christina featured in many of his paintings. The two of these characters had a connection that was hard to explain.

   Christinas World

Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth
Rating: *****

Martha Lawton (07/16/18): A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline is a novel that is based on the famous painting by Andrew Wyeth called Christina’s World. Christina Baker Kline has taken the painting and the knowledge of Christina and Andrew’s lives and written a story of about Christina and her life. Cushing, Maine is where the story takes place. It is farm that had been in Christina’s family for generations. It is here that Andrew Wyeth was introduced to her and her brother and used them both as well as the farm for a series of paintings over many years. The novel is about Christina mostly and how her life and world slowly shrank. She was always a bit of clumsy and unsteady of her feet. She kept up with her younger brothers and with the summer visitors as they came. She fell in love and waited. Christina Olsen wanted love, marriage, and family. Her physical strength continued to wane and her life narrowed more.

I felt the desolation of the Maine coast and the farm. I felt the desolation of her life. I cried when she crawled everywhere, wanting her to have more, but yet she seemed peaceful in her choices. I was sorry I didn’t read the book when it first came out. The book was superb and tragic. Andrew Wyeth wrote that he wanted people to see her as a person who might be limited physically but not spiritually. He wanted to do justice to her conquest of life despite the physical limitations of her body. Christina Baker Kline managed to take the painting and Andrew Wyeth’s hope and write a book of such breadth that your heart hurts and celebrates.

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline was a great read.
Rating: ****

Judy Stanton (07/12/18): You know how sometimes you read a book and think, hmmm, I don't think I'm going to like this one? It's about a small town living in a rural community, and, well, kind of slow moving. Not my style. Well, I started off feeling that way about this book, but ended up really loving it. The book is historical fiction based on Andrew Wyeth's famous painting "Christina's World." The author, Christina Baker Kline studied the painting and read about the real Christina and tried to imagine her life and her relationship with the famous painter. The book is beautifully written, the characters are well developed, the plot line draws you in with such heartfelt feelings for Christina and her life and relationship challenges. And, like all great historical fiction, it sent me in search of more information to learn about her, Andrew Wyeth, his paintings and the community in which they lived. I've worked with people with disabilities and this book gave me an even more in depth look at the challenges they face not only with their disability but in coping with how people see -- or don't see them. A great read.
Rating: *****

Faith Bowers (02/20/18): I thought this was excellent historical fiction. The muse of artist Andrew Wyeth is a 46 year old life long resident of her family home of many sea faring generations. Her father farmed the property. She and her brother took over. The house was in disrepair and had never been modernized but it was their home. This is her story, the woman in the picture Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth in MOMA in NYC.

The writing is concise but not too tight. I really enjoy when an author improves dramatically in her next novel. Kline wrote Orphan Train which was good but this is so much better. The house becomes an important character especially how she writes the way the siblings see their home through the eyes of Wyeth. There are so many topics of conversation for a book club even though it seems like a simple story.
Rating: *****

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