the next good book

A Piece Of The World

By Christina Baker Kline


296 pages

What’s it about? Christina Olson lives on a small farm, in a remote town on the coast of Maine with her family.  All her life she is seen only for her disability.  In her middle years it seems that the bitterness may overtake her.  About this time, she becomes acquainted with artist Andrew Wyeth.  Eventually she will be the subject of one of the most well-known paintings of the twentieth century.   In this novel Ms. Kline tells a story of what she imagines was behind this painting. What did it make me think about? This novel shows the progression of Christina from a young person with an unknown affliction, to a woman who struggles not to succumb to bitterness over her lonely life.  This book made me think about how age changes all our perspectives. Should I read it? This was another novel whose inspiration was a painting.  I have mixed feelings about this one….  I felt for Christina, but for much of the novel I just did not like her much.  Her feelings for her friend Gertrude pretty much say it all, “Gertrude has become a stand-in for anyone who ever pitied me, didn’t try to understand me, abandoned me.  She gives my bitterness a place to dwell.” Quote-In truth, I can’t remember the last time anyone noticed my physical discomfort and did something about it.  When you live on a farm, everyone is uncomfortable much of the time.  Too cold, too warm, dirty, bone tired, banged up, injured by a tool or a hot grate- too pre-occupied to worry about each other.”

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