A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A Piece of the World

Plot Summary Part 1

Christina is a crippled girl who grows up on a farm in a small town in Maine. She walks with difficulty and has difficulty using her hands. As with many works of "literature", this book vastly overuses the flashback and flash-forward technique. We see old Christina being painted by famous Andrew Wyeth when she is an old lady, and we flashback to see Christina's past.

Wyeth starts out painting Christina's barn and we get pages and pages of how wonderful his barn paintings are. Look, he painted the rooster! And the rake and the broom that Uncle Jed left by the door! How amazing!  I'll spare you the summary of those parts. Only at the end of the book where he paints Christina do we get some meat, and we'll cover that at the end.

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Most of the story is the flashback of Christina's childhood and adult years. When Christina was a kid, her parents wanted to take her to a doctor because she could barely walk and use her hands. But Christina was afraid of the doctor and refused to go.

For most of the rest of her life, she is constantly pounded on that if only she had gone to the doctor, she would have not spent her life as a cripple. Well, guess what, near the end of the book she does go to a doctor, and he finds there is nothing he can do for her. So all the pages and pages of moaning "Why didn't Christina go to the doctor when she was a child" are all for nothing.

When Christina is in school her teacher recommends she study to become a teacher herself. But her parents refuse to let her get more of an education because they want her to be their personal slave on their family farm. So Christina doesn't go and sure enough, she spends the rest of her life as a crippled slave on the family farm. Had enough sadness? We've only just begun!

Christina improbably gets a boyfriend named Walton. Walton is wealthy and from Boston and educated and going to Harvard and has two good arms and two good legs and in short, has absolutely nothing in common with Christina. And yet he comes summer after summer to spend time with her. Although Christina's arms and legs don't work well, her v_gina does. Actually they never quite say they have sex but why else would this boy keep coming back summer after summer to see her? Hm.

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