Reader reviews and comments on A Piece of the World, plus links to write your own review.

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A Piece of the World

A Novel

by Christina Baker Kline

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline X
A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2017, 320 pages
    Jan 2018, 384 pages

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Esther L. (Newtown, PA)

A Painting Come To Life
A sad, yet uplifting life story of Christina Olson and her relationship with artist Andrew Wyeth. They met in 1939 when Wyeth was twenty two and Christina was forty six, and spent many summers in Maine talking together while Wyeth sketched and painted. An undiagnosed degenerative disease stole her mobility but Wyeth was able to paint the core of Christina's self.

I raced through the story and enjoyed every moment. I wasn't sure that I would this book as much as The Orphan Train, but I did. Christina's character was beautifully written and the times and places well drawn.

Many thanks to BookBrowse for the opportunity to read and review A Piece. Of the World.
Barbara H. (Thomasville, GA)

Swept away in Christina's World
I opened this book and was immediately swept away into the lush, coastal farm Maine landscape and the amazing characters inhabiting this landscape from 1900 through 1948. This small piece of the world was Christina'a world, a misshapen, crippled young girl, growing into adulthood and stubbornly trying to be normal when she was not.

When Andrew Wyeth came into her world, her life opened up in ways she never imagined. Wyeth found in this "world" subjects for his greatest works in the simple lives of Christina and her brother and the surrounding windswept landscape. This is a story of the beginnings of a great artist and a crippled young woman who led a life of amazing hardship and simplicity - and how their two worlds collided. Christina discovered that the greatest kindness is acceptance – and to be seen.

I discovered: BBC Michael Palin in Wyeth's World on YouTube. Go and view this video – It is lovely and shows Christina's home in this gorgeous part of Maine which now can be toured.
Suzy L

Moving and Impactful
Andrew Wyeth spent his summers in Cushing, Maine with his family. It is here where he first met Christina Olson who later becomes the inspiration for his painting “Christina’s World”. Christina lived a tough life along with her brother Al on the neighboring farm. Their dilapidated home lacked modern day conveniences and had fallen into disrepair. Andrew encounters the Olsons through their neighbor Betsy and he decides to express their lives via a painting. As Andrew puts paint to canvas, the details of the Olson’s hardships come to light.

The story unfolds with Christina’s as a young girl. A childhood illness left her with difficulty walking and no cure for her bone disease. As she grew older, the effects worsened leaving her crippled making her farm chores difficult. A bright student, the opportunity to further her studies to become a teacher were dismissed early by her parents. Her future only left her with two choices, to marry or maintain the farm. Sadly, she had very few opportunities to make romantic connections leaving her with no escape. Christina is not the most likable character, but by reading the book you become sympathetic to her disposition. Andrew Wyeth developed a relationship with her over many years and was able to capture a different side of her in this painting.

Andrew Wyeth painted the portrait, but the author writes a beautiful story by bringing it to life. Intertwined in the story is how she met Wyeth, who through his masterpiece, shows the world her softer side of someone having suffered so much both internally and externally. The author showcases a very moving and impactful novel.

Knowing the back story of Christina Olson and her role as a muse for Andrew Wyeth, I was eager to read this. It's a historic novel based on the famous painting by Wyeth called "Christina's World". The back story is fascinating and Kline loosely portrays the life of Christina from birth to about age 56 and imagines her thoughts and feelings and her limited interaction with the outside world. The book covers the first 10 years of her friendship with Wyeth, though it continued for another 20 years. The painting is haunting and thought provoking and so is Christina Baker Cline's novel. Kudos.
Mary B. (Laguna Woods, CA)

Christina's World
As someone who likes to learn about art and enjoys historical fiction, I was looking forward to reading this book. I found it to be a wonderful description of life in rural New England in the 1st half of the 19th century. I felt very sorry for Christina as she was so handicapped, had to do so much physical labor for her family, and was forced to leave school after 8th grade even though she was very smart. She became a lonely and sometimes bitter women whose life was enlivened when Andy Wyeth came to her farm to paint in the summers. She found she had much in common with the much younger man and finally felt understood when he painted "Christina's World".
Ann S. (Hornell, NY)

A Piece of the World
I remember the speculation on the relationship between Christina and Andrew Wyeth when the painting was reviewed many years ago. Who would not be curious about this Woman who Andrew painted and the history of where he painted his many works. I found this book flowed with poetic descriptions of Christina's family small town interactions, hope, honesty and history and her daily struggles to not be noticed, but be included in life. She steals your heart, makes you frustrated with her stubbornness and weeping at times for her losses. A good read. You wont forget Christina for a long time.
Sherri M. (Mullica Hill, NJ)

Brings a painting to life
The prologue drew me right in with such beautiful sentences. I couldn't wait to learn more about the girl in Andrew Wyeth's painting Christina's World. The author did her research and brought Christina to a rich, dimensional life. We get to see her emotions, her physical challenges, and her family's history. We also get to learn about Wyeth's life and how he and Christina came to know each other. This isn't a plot-based, action-packed book, rather a slow (in a good way) character unfolding. We get to see what life was like in the first half of the 20th century, and Christina Baker Kline paints a beautiful story.
Harriette K. (Northbrook,, IL)

A Piece of the World
When Andrew Wyeth comes to Christina's home to paint, her story comes to life. The tale of the hardships of farm life in the early 20th century the role of women of the time, and the distinct class differences is told very clearly. Unless I missed something, the nature of Christina's disability was not mentioned. It might have been spina-bifida, but the resistance she displayed in her refusal to seek medical advice makes the reader wonder if her chosen role was victim or martyr.
I was familiar with the artist, his family background, and the painting "Christina's World". In the future, I will look at the piece and the other paintings that Wyeth did of Christina with a different eye.

Beyond the Book:
  Christina's World

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