Helen's Book Club: Perfect Little World

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Helen's Book Club wrapped up the latest selection--Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson. Three hours after she graduates from high school, Izzy Poole tells her art teacher that she is pregnant with his baby. Hal Jackson, a failed artist and scion to one of Tennessee’s richest families, is tender-hearted and psychologically fragile, and while he loves Izzy, the news sends him into an emotional spiral. Determined to keep the baby and raise it on her own, Izzy ponders the inevitabilities of that future. Extremely bright and surprisingly grounded, Izzy is nonetheless a loner, her only friend the grizzled owner of the Whole Hog barbecue, where she works.

With no other options, Izzy decides to join a ten-year child development experiment called The Infinite Family Project that is being initiated by renowned child psychologist Dr. Preston Grind. A program that will place babies and their parents into a carefully-controlled, communal-living setting, the IFP—which is being funded by the billionaire owner of a national big box chain store—will be a study in shared responsibility and love—all the parents will care for and love all of the children equally, with no preference shown to their own. Izzy and her son, Cap, move to the IFP compound and this utopia begins with promise. But, as the years unfold, Izzy’s initial apprehension is further complicated by internecine events and by her own complex feelings about Dr. Grind.

We also revealed our new Book Club pick--A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline. To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century.

As she did in her beloved smash bestseller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America’s history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists. Told in evocative and lucid prose, A Piece of the World is a story about the burdens and blessings of family history, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.

  • Book Event for Christina Baker Kline
  • Thursday, March 9, 7:00pm
  • Powell's Books, Cedar Hills Crossing, Beaverton

For more information on A Piece of the World, visit Christina's website. For more information on Perfect Little World, visit Kevin's website. And to join our AM Northwest Helen's Book Club, visit our Facebook page.