Reading guide for A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Discuss |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

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
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2017, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2018, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Christina Olson's life is limited by her parents, her illness, and the realities of a rural life in the first half of the 20th century. But she does make decisions that affect the course of her life. What are some of the major consequences of Christina's choices? Which choices did you agree with, and with which did you disagree?
  2. Consider Christina's relationship with her parents and her relationship with Mamey. What does Mamey offer Christina that her parents do not? What are the limitations of that relationship? How do Christina's brothers have different relationships with both Mamey and their parents?
  3. How do the poems of Emily Dickinson engage with the themes of this novel?
  4. How might Christina's life have been different if Walton had actually married her? What do you think their marriage might have been like?
  5. What does Christina's behavior toward her brother reveal about her character?
  6. What is it about Andy that compels Christina to share her very private world with him? Why does she allow him to paint her, and why does she like being a model more than Al does?
  7. What draws Andy toward Christina? How are they similar? How does Betsy's relationship with each influence the relationship with the other?
  8. Discuss the ways in which Andrew Wyeth's iconic painting Christina's World interacts with this story. Were you familiar with the painting before you read the novel? How did that familiarity (or lack of familiarity) color your reading of the novel?
  9. Which parts of Christina's life are probably based on biographical fact? What parts do you think the author added? Did your reading of Kline's Author's Note at the end of the novel change the way you thought about any aspect of the book? What about seeing the painting at the end of the novel?
  10. Would you characterize Christina as an unlikeable narrator? Why or why not?
  11. Is A Piece of the World a "New England" novel? To what extent do the characters and the setting take into account their New England roots?
  12. The majority of historical fiction revolves around important or influential figures—monarchs, cultural beacons or warmongers. Christina, by contrast, lives a 'quiet, ordinary life.' How does Kline extract drama and complexity in Christina's character?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of William Morrow. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Christina's World

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Confessions of an Innocent Man
    Confessions of an Innocent Man
    by David R. Dow
    It is circumstance that carries the wave that sweeps trendy Houston restaurateur Rafael Zhettah to ...
  • Book Jacket: Memories of the Future
    Memories of the Future
    by Siri Hustvedt
    I've never kept a journal, but my mother has written in hers for years, the annual volumes she's ...
  • Book Jacket: Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
    Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
    by Rajeev Balasubramanyam
    Rajeev Balasubramanyam encapsulates the theme of Professor Chandra Follows his Bliss in its first ...
  • Book Jacket: The Workshop and the World
    The Workshop and the World
    by Robert P. Crease
    The longest glacier in France, the Mer de Glace, is losing roughly 12 feet of ice height each year. ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Affairs of the Falcóns
    by Melissa Rivero

    A beautiful, urgent novel about the lengths one woman is willing to go to build a new life.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    When We Left Cuba
    by Chanel Cleeton

    An exhilarating historical novel from the author of Next Year in Havana, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
Fly Girls
by Keith O'Brien

How five daring women defied all odds and made aviation history.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Book Club Giveaway!
Win Ecstasy

Win copies to share with friends or your book club!

Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, author, daughter, mother, wife, lover, and muse.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A B Penny A T U

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.