A Piece Of The World
by Christina Baker Kline
Discussion Questions:
1. Do you think Andrew Wyeth captured Christina and her world in his painting Christina's World? After Christina's disappointment with his first painting of her, why do you think she sat for this one - what changed in her relationship with Andrew, if anything, to persuade her to change her mind? Did you gain any insight into this painting from reading this book? Prior to reading this book, were you aware that the girl in this painting was dragging herself along the ground?

2. Christina lived a life of suffering and hardship. Her one ray of sunshine was early in life - when she met Walton. How did Christina change after this relationship didn't work. Do you think she held out hope for another love? How about her friend Betsy, was it difficult for her to break the news to Christina? Was Betsy the right person to do this? What is your opinion of Walton and the way he handled this? Should he have told Christina himself?

3. Once Christina reached mid-life, her world was in a constant state of flux - shrinking and becoming smaller. Because of her debilitating disease, it became harder for her do even the simplest of chores. Discuss Christina's awareness of this and how it affected her relationships; especially with her brother Al? Discuss her reaction when Al brought a young woman he cared for home. Why do you think Al stopped seeing this woman? Did Christina regret any of her words or actions? Do you think she was selfish? What made Al give up his chance at life away from the farm?

4. The author provides a lot of background on Christina's early years. Discuss her relationship with her parents, her father in particular. Why do you think he did not follow through with her medical appointment after she had a temper tantrum. Do you think he was right? Would this still happen today or was this a function of the times and hardships her family faced. Was it a mistake to not sell the house when they had the opportunity? Discuss the family savings her father spent on his medical treatment. Christina was strong and independent even in the face of her limitations. Where do you think this strength came from. Did her mother play a role?

5. Discuss her parent's decision to curtail Christina's education so she could help with the chores at home. Do you think continuing in school would have made a difference in Christina's life. Her teacher, when learning she could not continue school, gave Christina a book of Emily Dickinson's poetry, which was a great source of comfort to Christina. Describe why she was so inspired and attached to Emily Dickinson.

6. Andrew Wyeth had a profound impact on Christina. What did he see and convey to her that no one else did? Why do you think Christina and Wyeth had such a special connection? Andrew had a limp- do you think this made him more relatable to Christina? He was also very frank with her. Why do you think she accepted this from him?

7. The farmhouse where Christina lived had no modern amenities; no running water, no electricity, no telephone. Why do you think no improvements were made to the farm. Do you think it was money alone?

Discussion questions by PrincetonBookReview.com - Feel free to use with attribution.

Book Club Talking Points:
Members will love discussing Christina's strong character - it's unforgettable. I also think the special relationship she had with Wyeth is very discussable. Christina's early life and her family as well as her relationship with her brother Al will also spark conversation. The book takes a sincere look at living with hardship and sacrifice and the obligation of parents as well as overcoming the challenges of living with an incurable disability.

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