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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. As she did in her beloved smash bestseller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America’s history.

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Andrew Wyeth spent his summers painting in Cushing, Maine and he was especially drawn to the Olson House and its occupants. Siblings Al and Christina Olson lived in their old ancestral home which had no modern conveniences--no electricity, and no indoor plumbing other than a hand pump in the kitchen. The book is named for Wyeths famous painting @Christinas [email protected] which depicts a field of yellowed grass and a woman in a pink dress crawling up the hill, heading toward a farmhouse in disrepair. Wyeth is showing Christina, who had a debilitating neuromuscular disease, as a woman with many qualities. Fragile, vulnerable, longing, strong, and persistent are adjectives that come to mind, and every viewer will see something different in the painting.

The book is really Christinas story written as a fictional memoir of her life with her parents, her grandmother, and three brothers. She was an intelligent girl whose dream of becoming a teacher was taken from her when her parents needed her at home to do chores in the farmhouse. Her hope of love and marriage never worked out. Christina was a resilient worker at home, caring for her sickly parents and her siblings. She always had a stubborn streak, and refused to use a wheelchair as her mobility decreased. Andrew Wyeth treated Christina with a cheerful acceptance, and his presence was welcomed by both Christina and her brother. Al and Christina had a strong sibling connection--two people facing life together under difficult circumstances, both with dreams that were never realized.

I loved Christina Baker Klines writing in this story. The author conveys so much understanding and warmth in her complex portrayal of Christina. The book transported us to the first half of the 20th Century, to a time of simple pleasures, hard work, and the unforgettable Christina Olson. 4.5 stars.

@Christinas [email protected] is at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City:

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Im afraid Ill be in the minority with my rating, but dont let that deter you from picking this up. I admire an author that can weave a story from an object. Christina is a strong, well drawn character and setting was spot on. I hadnt heard of Andrew Wyeth so researching his work was interesting. Where the book lost me was that it seemed to wane on and on and on.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
I have long been fascinated with the artwork of Andrew Wyeth, and particularly his body of work centered around Christina Olson and her rustic home in Maine. I knew, therefore, that a well constructed book about those persons would be interesting to me. For once, I got more than I anticipated. This book is marvelous.

I must say, in fairness, that this is more about Christina herself and has less to do with Andrew Wyeth or his art than I had thought it would. No problem. Christina is a complex and multidimensional person with a life worth the exploration. Crippled at an early age, she is a study in self-reliance, strength, and perseverance. She is a study, as well, in the loneliness and isolation that comes with being different.

It’s a good question. How do I think of myself? The answer surprises us both. “I think of myself as a girl,” I say.

One of the themes at the heart of this novel is the difference between how we see others and how they see themselves. Christina encounters so many people who see her as her infirmities, who discount her feeling and her intelligence because she has a broken body. Her brother sees her as his sister, who manages to take care of a home and family despite her limitations and as his playmate and sibling who has shared his life. She sees herself as a whole person, encased in a chrysalis from which there is no escape.

It is this that explains the relationship that forms between the artist and his subject:
Andy doesn’t usually bring anything, or offer to help. He doesn’t register alarm at the way we live. He doesn’t see us as a project that needs fixing. He doesn’t perch on a chair, or linger in a doorway, with the air of someone who wants to leave, who’s already halfway out the door. He just settles in and observes.

As we watch Christina’s life unfold, we see how much of it is dictated by how others see her. We watch her dream and we watch those dreams destroyed, we see windows of opportunity open and close with slams that echo like the screen doors of the old house. We watch her world collapse upon her, and yet we see her struggle to make the most of the life she is given. At the end, these words of Kline’s sum it up completely, The older I get, the more I believe that the greatest kindness is acceptance.

This novel is everything that I look for in a great novel. There are characters that are real and lives that have meaning. There is tension for these characters to transcend and obstacles to power through, and the glory of the human spirit to applaud and descry.

That this is based upon the life of an actual historic person makes it all the more poignant. I will now view Wyeth’s Christina’s World with a new layer of meaning. For as our character, Christina, says, Here is what I know: Sometimes the least believable stories are the true ones.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Im proud to have been a stop on the blog tour of this book. You can read about that and all my reviews at Lit.Wit.Wine.Dine

I was immediately drawn to this book for so many reasons. I loved The Orphan Train and could not wait to read another book written by Christina Baker Kline. I love Andrew Wyeth’s work; I really could go on and on about how much I love his paintings. I’ll restrain myself though and say only that I’m unbelievably drawn to his signature color palette and his peaceful yet intense nostalgia-evoking subjects and scenery. Lastly, I love books that tell the little-known stories behind well-known people, places, and events.

A Piece of the World is the story of Christina Olson, Wyeth’s friend and muse. Christina is a very complicated woman; in turns she is stubborn, resilient, sensitive, strong, introspective, and perceptive. This story itself has obviously been meticulously researched. The scenery is beautifully rendered and made me feel as though I’d been transported to Cushing, Maine (where I am now itching to go). The author did an amazing job of blending fact and fiction into a book that I simply could not put down.

This book is special from start to finish but the thing that about it that really struck me was how the story was told. Many books are written in first person but few convey the enormous sense of intimacy found in A Piece of the World. The reader is made to feel as though they are Christina’s trusted confidant.

“Closing my eyes, I lean over the side, the salt spray on my face mingling with tears. I weigh the shell in my palm – this cameo shell that has no place with the others. A store-bought trinket with no history, no story. I knew, deep down, when he gave it to me that he didn’t understand anything about [email protected]

I was expecting to read an interesting story about Christina’s relationship with Wyeth but this book is so much more than that. It’s really an exploration of the life of a woman who, faced with many challenges, is determined to remain true to herself. It was a very emotional read for me and one I’ll not soon forget.

Many thanks to HarperCollins/William Morrow for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
A Piece of this World is inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s painting, Christina’s World. I am a fan of both Andrew and N.C. Wyeth’s paintings and was therefore very eager to read this book. While I love the painting Christina’s World and have seen it on display a number of times at MoMA, I never realized that Wyeth based the painting on someone he knew.

The story goes back and forth through time slowly imagining Christina’s sad story and how Andrew Wyeth came to know and paint her. Christina spent her entire life living in her family’s dilapidated farm house in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. As a young child, she developed a debilitating disease that was never diagnosed but slowly robbed her of the ability to walk and use her limbs effectively. While she was quite intelligent, her father made her leave school after eighth grade and tend to household items. She never fully got over having to abandon her education. Between the school issue, her illness, and an unhappy romance, Christina developed into a complicated and sometimes bitter woman making choices that demonstrated her acrimony. I found it hard to like her but enjoyed learning her story.

Wyeth met Christina one summer when his family was visiting Maine. They went on to develop a relationship that lasted many years. Andrew Wyeth brought out a more sympathetic side of Christina, which he immortalized in his painting. The portions of the story where Wyeth appears and interacts with both Christina and her brother Al were my favorites.

Christina Baker Kline writes a character driven novel that brings Christina’s World vividly to life. Thanks to BookBrowse and William Morrow for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
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