Staff Review: A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline 2


Image result for a piece of the world book cover

Christina Baker Kline’s A Piece of the World is an easy book to review. As the selection for our March Second Saturday Book Club, it generated a great deal of discussion from those in attendance. There was much to discuss; the tormented protagonist, the simultaneously stark and beautiful tone of the writing, and the romantic setting of an early to mid twentieth-century Maine shore town were all themes conducive to conversation.

Perhaps the most interesting theme is the relationship between the book and the real-life painting that it is inspired by (Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World, pictured above). The painting’s subject (who shares the author’s name) was a real person who inhabited the eerie homestead in the piece’s backdrop. Although little is known about the subject’s personal life, Kline uses her interpretation of the painting’s themes and mood to craft a fully realized character history. Her prose imitates the painter’s style as it is also beautiful and simple, but with much more going on under the surface than is initially obvious. (If you look at the painting for long enough, you’ll start to notice how creepy the house is, or how the subject’s pose is both relaxed and apprehensive).

Readers should ensure not to skip the author’s note at the book’s close; there are a number of illuminating tidbits offered by Kline involving the painting’s history, Wyeth’s fascination with Christina and the setting, as well as the author’s interpretation and thoughts about the piece.

Bottom Line: Although some readers might find the book’s pacing somewhat slow, A Piece of the World is a worthwhile read that features a rich story, excellent prose, eternally relevant themes such as acceptance and lonliness, and a fascinating premise.


If you are interested in checking out this title for your own book club, please follow the link to fill out a request. You can also browse the numerous other titles we have available to rent for our “Book Club in a Bag” kits.


Thanks for reading! If you agree, disagree, or would just like to say hi, please leave a comment!

-George, FTPL

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2 thoughts on “Staff Review: A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

  • Rachel Salapatas

    George, You are certainly jumping right on board in your new job. I appreciate your report and insight about Cristina’s World, etc. I have just finished reading the book. I now know I will want to reserve it for my book club about 6 or 8 months from now (don’t know the exact dates yet). . . . . to say nothing about a trip into MOMA for another look at the real painting.

    • geppinger Post author

      Hi Rachel, thanks for your comment! I’m glad you appreciated the report! After reading this book I can’t help but be interested in Andrew Wyeth’s work, so seeing the painting in person sounds like a great idea. I think you’ll enjoy using this book for your club, as there is a lot to talk about.

      Let us know when you have the dates for your club, and we’ll make sure it gets put on hold for you. Thanks for reading!