A Piece of the World: A Novel
by Christina Baker Kline
Hardcover- $12.99


"Exquisite. A must-read.”

--Kristin Hannah

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the smash ...

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  "A Piece of the World" by MelissaKurtz (see profile) 04/06/17

  "Beautifully written and read by the narrator. It is a tender story about the subject of a world famous painting!" by thewanderingjew (see profile) 04/11/17

A Piece of the World, Christina Baker Kline, author; Polly Stone, narrator
The book essentially tells the story of events leading up to the painting of “Christina’s World” by Andrew Wyeth. I have always loved the painting and have a print of it in my home. It conjures up thoughts of hope as well as desperation, of longing and success, of family and serenity, of disappointment and expectation, as the young woman in the painting lies on the slope of a field, looking into the space between herself and a home in the distance, which seems peaceful but possibly unreachable.
The novel is written from Christina’s point of view. It is presented with an honesty and clarity that feels authentic as she tells the story of her struggles. In spite of her difficulties, she refuses to be pitied. The book covers five decades, from the birth of Christina Olson to the painting of her by Andrew Wyeth, the husband of her close friend Betsy. He is a frequent visitor to her farmhouse, a farmhouse whose location inspired him and was the place where he painted views and scenes he saw and imagined in the surrounding area. He also painted portraits of Christina’s brother Alvaro, who lived with her, surrendering his own life in support of hers.
The author has done an extraordinary amount of research into Christina’s background and Wyeth’s relationship with her and her family home. She succeeds in bringing both of them to life. Christina is imagined as a sometimes martyr, sometimes distraught and sometimes surly young woman, a woman who is always independent and perhaps single-minded, in spite of her affliction. Yet her need to be independent was fraught with obstacles. Her condition made it hard for her to manage everything on her own, in spite of the fact that she tried hard to ignore her shortcomings for much of her life. This was much to the consternation of others, and it caused her great suffering and loss. Often displaying irascible stubbornness alongside with kindness toward her family, she seemed to be witnessing life around her without participating in it. Protective of her private feelings, she shared little with others. Her experience with young love went unrequited and caused her great distress, altering her attitude about life permanently and consigning her to a rather reclusive future existence. The sacrifices demanded of the Olson family often seemed necessary, but nevertheless, cruel and selfish.
The book, written with tenderness and compassion by the author, as it developed the life and personality of Christina, was made even better by the narrator, Polly Stone, who truly enhanced this novel by making the characters reach out from the page into the reader’s heart. The narrator became Christina as she related her story, without overpowering her. She told the story of her life, the story of her happiness and her sadness, her loves and her losses, her loneliness and her suffering at the hands of an illness that severely compromised her ability to become a member of society as most of her friends did, as a wife and a mother. Her life was one of servitude to others, in spite of her illness, a life which sometimes made her bitter and a life which eventually strangled the life of her brother Alvaro when she was unwilling to let him lead a life of his own, considering his need for independence nothing more than an abandonment of her. Those who did not escape the farm did not truly live their life, but Christina loved the farm with the same fierceness as her mother did.
Since the timeline shifted from her youth to her current day, I often got a bit confused, but quickly sorted it out. Andrew Wyeth wanted to know just who Christina Olson was, and so did I. In 1948, when Wyeth painted the famous painting, “Christina’s World”, she was 55 years old, but he painted her the way he perceived her after seeing her crawl across a field. The image he painted of her is of a much younger woman, a woman who still might have hope in her heart, even as she yearned to reach the farmhouse in the distance.

  "" by llorton (see profile) 04/12/17

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  "a piece of the world" by Carolynr (see profile) 07/26/17

3.5 starts
To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century.

I did like reading this book..it did make me want to find out what happened to Christine.
this is the author of the Orphan Train and I do like how she envisions Christine's life

  "" by KM (see profile) 10/31/17

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  "" by DILaurie (see profile) 05/16/18

Read my 5-star review of A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

  "" by slstrobach (see profile) 05/20/18

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  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 07/27/18

Ok for book club. Enlightening. Overall mediocre

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 10/05/18

Our book club liked the book and gave it 4 1/2 stars. Fairly slow and did not like going back and forth in history. Wondered why Christina could not go forward and give Al a chance at happiness. No wheelchair? Could have given her greater mobility rather than crawling on arms. Loved how Andy was woven into story. Think they became great friends because of their disabilities and sharing loneliness

  "Historical Fiction About Woman in Andrew Wyeth's Painting" by ebach (see profile) 10/27/18

A PIECE OF THE WORLD is historical fiction about Christina Olson, the woman in Andrew Wyeth’s painting CHRISTINA’S WORLD. According to Christina Baker Kline (the author, not the Christina in the painting), Christina Olson and many of the other people in this novel were (and some are, she says) real people. Kline did a tremendous amount of research on them, and A PIECE OF THE WORLD is based on the facts she found. But she did have to let her research go at some points and present this book as fiction.

This novel can be slow when farming details and life running a household on a farm are described. Also, I get bored when I read about children’s meanness to other children, something I think is common and experienced by all children to one degree or another. This is given too much attention in too many books.

But once Christina is a young adult, her story is absorbing. Warning, though: Christina’s life is sad, too. I may have found it even more so. As a handicapped person, I experienced some of the same events that Christina did.

One paragraph in this book describes the way Christina feels about her chronic pain. It exactly explains the way I feel, so exactly that I wonder how Kline knew enough to write it. Perhaps this is something she found in her research.

That is the problem I have with historical fiction. Although I love it because it is more real than other fiction, I always want to know what in particular is fact and what did the author imagine.

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 11/09/18

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  "Heartbreaking and up lifting" by lpollinger (see profile) 10/21/19

Christina spends her entire life on the family family in coastal Maine. She was born with a physical ailment that the doctors cannot diagnose, she is the only daughter in the family and later as her parents become infirm she must take over the running of the household. An unlikely friendship ensues when Andrew Wyeth appear at the farm one summer requesting that he be able to paint there. This arrangement last a number of years and Christina becomes the subject of his most famous painting, Christina’s World.
This is a beautifully written book combining fact with fiction, my only criticism is that I wish the book was told as a continuous story instead of jumping back and forth in time.

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 10/26/19

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  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 03/28/20

This book was easy to put down and was not a page turner. Very slow and although it wasn’t awful it would not be anything I would recommend to readers.

  "" by Conversano (see profile) 05/21/20

  "" by dakelle (see profile) 07/15/20

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 09/30/21

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