Thursday, February 15, 2018

Story Behind Famous Wyeth Painting Interesting, But Not Riveting

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

For Christina Olson, life is small and ordinary.  House bound because of a debilitating condition (probably Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease) that twists her limbs into useless twigs, she spends her days keeping house as best she can, sewing dresses for ladies in town, and conversing with her brother, Al.  As the only daughter in a family of sons, she's destined to be the eternal housekeeper—but never the owner—of Hathorne House, her ancestral home.  Although a young man once offered her the dim hope of a different life, Christina knows she will never leave Cushing, Maine, her tiny piece of the world.

When 46-year-old Christina meets Andrew Wyeth, a young painter, life changes most unexpectedly.  His frequent visits light up Hathorne House with an energy and vitality that hasn't been there in decades.  He brings color into Christina's bleak, lonely world.  Already enraptured by the stark scenery of Cushing, Andrew becomes fascinated by Christina, even featuring her in an evocative painting that becomes one of his most famous.  This surprising friendship changes both of their lives and ensures that an ordinary, but remarkable, woman is not forgotten.

It's hard to describe the plot of A Piece of the World, Christina Baker Kline's newest, because it really doesn't have one.  Blending fact and fiction, it tells the story of the real woman who inspired Andrew Wyeth's striking painting, Christina's World.  Kline delves into Christina's growing-up years, which were marked by difficulty and pain, as well as her adulthood and her unlikely association with Wyeth.  It highlights her fierce independence as well as her undying devotion to her family.  What results is a quiet, character-driven novel that is interesting, but not riveting.  I ended up liking it, but not loving it.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs) and mild sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of A Piece of the World from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

7 comments:

  1. This one sounds a little bit on the boring side to me, lol. But, I could totally be wrong.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah ... it's very slow. It definitely requires some patience :)

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  2. Oh no! Don’t tell me that. I was looking forward to this one. I’ll go into it with different expectations and hopefully still like it.

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    1. It's interesting. It's just not exactly action-packed or exhilarating.

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  3. I liked learning more about Andrew Wyeth and seeing the story behind this famous painting. But I thought Christina and her brother had kind of sad lives.

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    Replies
    1. Definitely. Very sad lives. Overall, this novel is pretty dang depressing!

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  4. I felt exactly the same way about this book.

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