Cathy M. (Milwaukee, WI)
A Piece of the World is the story of Christina and how she becomes memorialized in Andrew Wyeth's famous painting, Christina's World. Christina has a degenerative condition, and at the end of the book she mostly just crawls. She can be compared to the house where she lives, the house in Wyeth's painting. As she becomes more disabled, her house becomes more dilapidated. The house is almost like a character in the book. Along with Christina, the house is a focal point in Wyeth's painting. In her childhood the house held all her dreams, but as she ages the house becomes an empty shell. Her dreams are gone.
I love reading the stories behind famous paintings. Anyone who feels the same way would love this book.
Jean N. (New Richmond, OH)
After reading this quiet thoughtful book, I felt like I had a new understanding of Wyeth's famous painting and the woman who inspired it. Christina's World is a seamless blend of fact and fiction. I loved the description of rural Maine in this time period. The author's writing took me there. Christina came alive as a person for me. I felt her determination to deal with her many challenges.
I love art and art museums. So, I connected with this book from that standpoint. However, I can highly recommend A Piece of The World to anyone who enjoys well researched, engaging historical fiction. This would be a great selection for book discussion groups.
I am looking forward to reading other books that Ms. Kline has written.
Sheila B. (Danvers, MA)
A Riveting Read
I found this book to be very sad, yet I couldn't put it down and was always reading a little bit more to find out what was going to happen. As far as the history goes, I feel Ms. Kline did an outstanding job of depicting rural daily life in the early 1900s. Being a young woman at that time wasn't easy...being a young woman with severe limitations had to be next to impossible, yet Christina persevered.
Susan B. (Hahira, GA)
A View Into Christina's World
When I picked up The Orphan's Train by Christina Baker Kline, I was swept away into a part of history I knew nothing about but her intensity and attention to detail. When I read that her next project was an exploration into Christina's World, I was thrilled and excited.
Of all of Andrew Wyeth's paintings, Christina's World has always been my favorite. I would spend hours in front of this painting trying to imagine who this girl was and what she was feeling. There was so much yearning in her pose.
As anticipated, Ms. Kline's talent and love of detail and research brought the rich history of the Maine coast, her people and specifically the Olson family and Christina alive. Andrew Wyeth, his wife Betsy and Christina became three dimensional and more than just historical characters I had read and studied about in art school. The empathy she shows for her characters made it all the more real for me.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. And, for those in book clubs, this is one entry that must be added to any list.
Terye B. (Boulder Creek, CA)
A Piece of the World
A marvelous story where we learn of the circumstances surrounding Andrew Wyeth's masterpiece, Christina's World. Christina Olson has lived at the farm house all her life, kept there by limited opportunities afforded her due to a mysterious childhood illness. Andrew Wyeth's girlfriend introduces him to the desolate Maine region, and he becomes transfixed by the stillness, the weather beaten surroundings. As Christina becomes accustomed to this stranger in her house, she reflects on her life, on her long ago romance. Through Christina Baker Kline's prose we feel the loneliness of Christina and the despair and worry of Andrew, who is trying to come to terms with his desire to produce great art, and to stay true to his vision.
Mary P. (Bellingham, WA)
A Piece of the World
This biographical novel deserves a 6 rating, for excellent. "Very good" is an understatement. The subject of the novel is Christina Olson, the woman in the foreground of Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World." Christina is reaching for her home, and pulling herself through a field of grass towards the old, gray-white, wood-framed house up a slope from her.Wyeth was a meticulous painter, mainly in tempura; each blade of grass rendered individually. I feel that Kline pays as much attention to rendering Christina's life from girlhood to adulthood. Wyeth used an upstairs room in her home when he was visiting in Maine. The writing is exquisite--each word considered, each vision portrayed with care. Even if the reader doesn't know about Wyeth, Christina's matter-of-fact story about her life on the farm, her one love, her struggles with the polio that crippled her and the stoicism in reaction to it, is well worth reading.
Colleen T. (Lakewood, CO)
Christina Baker Kline has done a wonderful job in bringing to us a possible life the story of Christina Olson, who was the subject of Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World". Kline really gives us Christina and her life, her hardships and her wondrous moments. I was totally immersed in the story and was saddened at the idea that a woman had to live this extremely hard life through no fault of her own, and that she obviously, in real life, succeeded in making her adult life her own. I highly suggest that everyone read this story to understand how a person with many physical problems overcame these issues and succeeded where many may not have.