I waited till I finished reading this novel to view the portrait, Christina’s World, which surrounded this novel. I had my own version of what this painting entailed as I read the novel but as I viewed the actual image, the landscape felt more void and lonely than I had anticipated. Christina’s image was ideal as she laid out on the harsh grass and the homestead’s deteriorating condition completed the print.
I felt for Christina throughout the novel as she stumbled to keep up. She kept her struggles inside as her determined and steadfast attitude pushed her through each day. Christina felt unattractive and when you added on her leg condition that brought on her clumsiness and her constant stumbling, Christina had a negative view of herself. She was smart, her teacher had told her so, but living on the homestead she didn’t feel it. Her legs cause her constant pain yet when her parents try to get her medical help, she refused it. It’s rough out on the homestead without any modern conveniences yet Christina doesn’t complain, she does what is expected of her. When all her friends start dating, getting married and having children, Christina imagines such a time but somehow, she knows her life is on her family’s estate. I was sad to see Christina, day-in and day-out laboring away for her family and only taking time for herself if there was any, at the end of the day.
Andy Wyeth comes to Christina’s homestead as he wants to use the surrounding area in his paintings. Andy becomes a constant figure in the household, using the upstairs bedroom for his studio. I enjoyed the relationship that Andy and Christina develop through the years. They discover how the two of them are alike and their conversations become personal and relaxed. Andy gets married and Christina finds a man who fills her heart. She wonders how Walton will fit into her world as their worlds are so different. Is this her opportunity to leave the estate and start her own life?
I found myself absorbed into Christina's life. I wanted so much for her. When her teacher extended an opportunity to her, I was hoping that this would be where she would succeed and she would be off. I would only hope. I loved Christina’s relationships in this novel. They weren’t tight but she had a nice variety where I learned a bit more about her from different individuals. I really enjoyed the author’s writing, there was this, “this is how it is” feeling about it and I brought my own emotions to the table as I read. I really enjoyed how the painting was used in this novel and I am glad I didn’t look at it until I finished reading the novel. I think my parents had a copy of this painting when I was growing up, hanging in the hallway. You can read the interpretation of this painting, invent your own, or read this novel and apply it to this painting, it’s up to you. Super novel to read.
I won a copy of this novel from a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you, William Morrow, - Harper Collins Publishers for this novel!