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The Way Life Should Be

3.57  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,453 Ratings  ·  539 Reviews

Angela Russo is thirty-three years old and single, stuck in a job she doesn't love and a life that seems, somehow, to have just happened. Though she inherited a flair for Italian cooking from her grandmother, she never has the time; for the past six months, her oven has held only sweaters. Tacked to her office bulletin board is a picture torn from a magazine of a cottage o

Kindle Edition, Reprint Edition, 306 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published July 31st 2007)
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Carol Brill
Sep 25, 2015 Carol Brill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Christina Baker Kline has a very readable, transparent writing style, spot-on dialogue, and characters I feel like I know.
Angela Russo is a single, thirty-something event planner in New York. When an important charity event goes all wrong, she loses her job. She impulsively decides to move to Maine to pursue a new relationship with a sailing instructor she met on an online dating site. She befriends the owner of the local coffee shop and ends up working for him, convincing him to expand his bus
I signed this book out of the library because I remembered really liking an earlier book by the author (Sweet Water). This one starts off feeling like a fairly predictable chick lit book but gets better as it goes along. In fact, I sort of wish it had kept going. I got to the point where I felt like I was just getting to know some of the more peripheral characters and then it was done.
Really loved this well told story of a young woman trying to find her "soul mate" and figure out what direction her life should go in. Wonderful descriptions of the art of cooking and the love of good food, relationships, the beautiful Maine coast in winter.

So lovely except I felt the ending fell short - sort of abrupt the way the book ended, as is the author just got tired of writing and decided to move on to another project - she left us hanging. I really wanted to know what happened to Angela
Jun 03, 2014 Allison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I almost quit reading this book so many times, and finally just skimmed ahead until the cliche chick-lit parts were mostly over. The beginning chapters are pure cliche: the heroine is unlucky in love, epically screws up her job, risks her job in pursuit of a guy . . . but luckily, she has a Special Gift and Unique Cultural Background! Sigh. Other reviewers were right, though - once in Maine, it got a lot better and there were some very nice chapters about food and community and community and foo ...more
May 05, 2012 Gina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sweet, easy read. Basic plot line revolves around a woman who is trying to figure out what to do with her life- she ends up on a little island in Maine (in winter no less- can't imagine how cold that must be!) because something just feels right. The author does a nice job of intertwining this journey with her relationship with her Italian grandmother, who is of course, a fantastic cook.I'm always pleased when an author cna successfully include cooking into a good story. Definitely would recommen ...more
Aug 28, 2012 Alisia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book in a "take one, leave one" bookshelf at the cottage we stayed at in Maine. Mostly taking place on the same small island where we were vacationing (Mount Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park), this was a perfect vacation read. I also loved the recipes dotted throughout the book.
Jun 03, 2016 Vox rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve always told my students that authors never give their characters the age of thirty-three accidentally. That is a purposeful age, heavy with allusion. Jesus was thirty-three when he was crucified, and ever since, the age has tremendous literary (not to mention religious) symbolism. When a writer tells us that a character is thirty-three, we must expect cataclysmic, significant changes to occur.

Angela Russo is thirty-three.

She’s also a woman desperate for – even if she isn’t perhaps aware of
Aug 30, 2014 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Angelo Russo is a 33 year old event planner in NYC. She is feeling in a bit of a rut, and on a whim clicks on an online dating site. She finds her "dream" man, a sailing instructor living on Mount Desert Island in Maine. She pictures an idyllic beach cottage, a dog and the perfect life. When she losses her job after a disaster at an event she had planned, she leaves her life behind and moves in with her "dream" man. But she soon discovers that the perfect, quaint picture she created is not reali ...more
Aug 02, 2014 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was excited to get an email advertising another book by Christina Baker Kline. I had read Orphan Train and loved it and recommended it to many friends.

In this novel we meet Angela, a 33 year old event planner living in NYC. After a major mishap at one of the events that she has planned, she loses her job. At the same time, Angela has started to use online dating and has recently met a man from Maine, who seems to good to be true. When she tells him that she has lost her job, he casually invite
Jan 31, 2008 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exactly the kind of read I needed --- a "breezy easy" book about a gal in her early 30s living in NYC, has a career crisis, and moves to Maine. My only wish is that the author gave us a little bit more depth to the characters. What she did was fine but left me wanting more. Which I guess is better than the alternative. :)
Feb 22, 2016 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lately, I've been in this reading slump. I've continued to read, but I haven't been devouring books at my usual rate. I haven't been invested in the stories and consumed by wanting to know what happens next. I've read the Orphan Train, and I thought it was fabulous, so I had high expectations set for Kline. I wanted and needed a book that would reignite my interest in reading, and make me excited to want to pick up the next book I read.

Although a simple story that takes place over just 5 months
Apr 29, 2015 Pat rated it liked it
Slow Starter

I nearly gave up on this novel by the end of chapter 2, as it just seemed too fluffy to bother reading, but I'm glad I continued. Event planner moves to Maine to be with online boyfriend and finds happiness - yes, but not just as you might think. This book explores what family means, being in community, expectations vs. Reality, and includes some wonderful-sounding Italian recipes that I plan to try. (White Bolognese sauce, anyone?) I was surprised by the ending. It was also well-wri
Riley Vermilya
This mindless, junk food for your brain chick lit was a fast read and EXACTLY what I needed since I have taken on too many book clubs and have a huge collection of books I ACTUALLY WANT TO READ. : )

I found the main character, Angela Russo lacking in substance and her wacky ways kind of irritating. However, I enjoyed her interaction with her Italian "loves to cook" grandmother and found their relationship quite delightful. It made me miss my own lovely grandmothers and their cooking skills.

I cou
Oct 13, 2009 Missy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not typical of the kinds of books that I read. It is a romance (sort of) but there is more than that going on. Angela Russo sets her sights on a man that she meets on the internet. Things do not work out between them, BUT....that is a good thing for Angela. It gives her the chance to do what heart tells her to do.

Angela's love for cooking she inherits from her Italian grandmother (Nonna). Nonna lives with Angela's father and stepmother, and teaches Angela many lessons. Nonna confides in
Apr 04, 2016 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-listened
This book started a little slow for me and then about 20% in it hit me how much I was loving this book! There is the building of a community in a little quirky town in Maine that made me long for that life and those relationships. I adored the relationship between Angela and her grandmother. I also really appreciated the way the author gave all the characters imperfections, making them feel real to me. Great book!
Feb 22, 2016 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who's on a life journey like myself & the main character. Also loves food, family etc.
Recommended to Melissa by: Found here on Goodreads
The Way Life Should Be by Christina Baker Kline by Christina Baker Kline

Just finished: May 24, 2014. My copy has 292 pages which includes "A conversation with Christina Baker Kline", "a reading group guide", and "a sneak preview of "Four Way Stop" so the page count is different than what's on the GR's page.

Thank you to Goodreads, William Morrow Publisher who listed this giveaway, and Harper (the publisher on this edition) for the opportunity to read this through the Goodreads first reads program for an honest review.

Wonderful story, very
Carol N
Mar 16, 2015 Carol N rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A warm and inviting tale of a lovely city girl who moves to Maine to find her perfect mate. Enjoyable read filled with humor, wonderful characters, family interactions and a spirit that you will find enchanting. The Way LIfe Should Be . . . leaves you with that one question we are always saying to ourselves. What am I doing with my life???
Jan 12, 2016 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful story of a cooking heritage, a misfunctional family and a woman who tries to fit in there somehow and still be herself. I loved these characters!
Apr 20, 2014 Jayna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was given a copy to review via Goodreads First Reads.

I wasn't sure about this book when I first started reading, but I totally fell in love. I guess I can relate- a thirty-something who feels like they still haven't found their place in life. This is a book about discovery and finding yourself. I do love that the characters in this book are in their thirties. I've read books where a 22 year old character feels 'lost' in life. No one knows anything at 22! Anyway, the characters are all relatabl
Jun 08, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Goes deeper than the usual romance books. Follow your passion. Loved her relationship with her Nonna.
Lauren Maskery
Oct 31, 2015 Lauren Maskery rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
loved it! even though it was a little too happy, it felt very much like the food described in the book - warm and comfortable :)
Nov 08, 2014 Maureen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
simple and relaxing book to read
Bill Wehrmacher
Feb 19, 2016 Bill Wehrmacher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I chose this book because I had just finished The Orphan Train and loved it. I wanted to see if Ms. Kline could hit two home runs. The Way Life Should Be lived up to my hopes for high expectations.

Angela is a 33 year old party planner who was very good at her job until she got distracted by an online romance. The distraction and following mishap at a huge party prompted her job loss which freed up her life sufficiently to go to Maine to meet her online dream love. She packs up and drives to Mai
Mahinui Gail
Feb 08, 2015 Mahinui Gail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fairy tale for grown ups. I have always loved fairy tales.

The premise that love can be found through an advertisement is perfectly logical, even though it does not seem to be to anyone who expects life to follow the patterns it did fifty years ago, or a hundred years ago.

When Angela decides to not just travel to Maine from New York to rendevous for a repeat time with a random dude from a dating site but to move in with him or even just be nearby him, it is hard not to wonder if Angela
I received this book from the publisher via as an Early Reviewer. I was very interested to read this as I loved Orphan Train also by Christina Baker Kline.

Angela Russo was raised by her dad and Italian nonna in New Jersey and remain close to them. Now single gal in her early thirties living in New York and an event planner for a museum. She seems to have it all but love and a soul mate. Taking a chance she gives online dating a try, she sets her sights on a man from Maine and im
Nov 19, 2014 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book falls into the category of cooking-school-find-yourself-romance books, with a Maine setting and a lot of recipes for Italian dishes.

Angela Russo, 33, is fired from her job as an events planner in New York City, and on a whim, packs up her things and drives to Maine. She had always been intrigued by the idea of a romantic cottage on the Maine coast, and had even initiated a real-life relationship with a guy she discovered through an online dating service calling himself “MaineCatch.” Sh
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
Being single and living in New York with a busy Italian family can be difficult enough as Angela Russo already knows. In her family, they always want what is best for her and have no problems letting her know their opinions. As an event planner, she is waiting to make her mark in her job so that she can take on bigger projects. That is why it is critical that she pulls this one off without a hitch. Not only that but her best friend Lindsey has found her soul mate through the wonders of internet ...more
Oct 02, 2014 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first Christina Baker Kline novel I read, like most people, was Orphan Train. I found the story so engrossing, and I was surprised that I had never heard of the orphan trains before.

After that, I read Sweet Water by Ms. Kline and was happy to report that I enjoyed that one as well. I just finished another book from Kline's backlist, The Way Life Should Be, and I found this book the best of the three.

Angela is a 33 year-old single woman living in Manhattan, with a burgeoning career as an even
Sep 20, 2014 Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
HarperCollins|September 8, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN # 978-0-06-236354-1
''Thirty-three-year-old New Yorker, Angela Russo, dissatisfied with a career that amounts to gliding across a smooth plateau of predictability and fed up with abysmal blind dates, responds to an online personal ad written by Rich, a sailing instructor from Mount Desert Island, Maine. Angela begins to fall in love with the idea of Maine life just as much as she finds herself falling for Rich, and when her career suddenly goes
Sara Strand
Sep 18, 2014 Sara Strand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'm not even the reader who enjoys chick lit so much, but something about these books just hooks me in and I don't put it down until the end. And this one was no different.

Angela leads a ho-hum life. She's got her job which she doesn't love, but isn't awful at. (Well, until the fire eater pulls out all of the stops to screw his cousin over and it's clear Angela forgot a really key step in party planning 101 and that goes all to hell.) She has her family that is alright, but she loves her dear Gr
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Christina Baker Kline, the author of five novels, grew up in Maine, England, and the American South. She is married to a Midwesterner whose family history inspired her new novel, Orphan Train (April). Set in present-day Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train highlights the real-life story of the trains that between 1854 and 1929 carried more than 200,000 abandoned children from the East ...more
More about Christina Baker Kline...

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“Every decision I make is determined solely by the spark and limitations of my own perspective” 5 likes
“I have found that the biggest moments in life, the ones that change everything, usually catch you by surprise.” 2 likes
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