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The Way Life Should Be: A Novel
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The Way Life Should Be: A Novel

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  6,864 ratings  ·  876 reviews
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train, and the critically acclaimed author of Bird in Hand, comes a novel of love, risk, and self-discovery—includes a special PS section featuring insights, interviews, and more.

Angela can feel the clock ticking. She is single in New York City, stuck in a job she doesn’t want and a life that seems to have, somehow, j
ebook, 320 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by William Morrow (first published July 31st 2007)
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Louise Hay She has five novels and several non-fiction books. I recently attended a presentation where she talked about how she came to write Piece of the World.…moreShe has five novels and several non-fiction books. I recently attended a presentation where she talked about how she came to write Piece of the World. You will definitely want to read Piece of the World.(less)
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3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,864 ratings  ·  876 reviews

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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.
Carol Brill
Sep 25, 2015 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
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, Christina Baker Kline has really evolved from this (one of first novels) to her critically-acclaimed follow ups Orphan Train and a A Piece Of The World.

Hmmmm. That sounded like a back-handed compliment. And it’s not meant to be; I’m just really impressed at how much she’s matured as a writer over the course of a few books. Again.... unintentionally back-handed. There was nothing wrong with this story at all: it’s a simple, heartfelt tale about... well, the way life should be. It’s got roma
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
3.5 Stars

I'm a total sucker for books about food. (Mmmmm...and Italian food?!) Add in the whimsical ideal of ditching a busy, rote life, running off to a small romantic town (in gorgeous Maine!) to simplify, sort out what's important, and start over....and I'm hooked! What an engaging escape novel with relatable characters and some particularly funny dialogue. I dug it!
Maureen DeLuca
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading Orphan Train( which was amazing ) I wanted to read more of Christina Baker Kline! This was a very nice , quick read - you can pretty much predict what was going to happen- but all in all a good read.

Main character Angela, faces the real struggles you would expect from a journey of self discovery. Kline captures the charms of life in Coastal Maine beautifully and is able to make the harsh winters seem warm and cozy through her writing.

A nice chick-lit book for sure!
I started reading this book, then put it aside, the first part was more like a Harlequin romance novel. Then I decided to give it another try and about halfway through, it got much better. If the whole book had been like the last half, I would have given it another star, because the second half was an engrossing and enjoyable read. Recipes included.
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
Apr 27, 2012 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
Kathy Miller
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women-s-fiction
Well written and interesting about Italian cooking and a young woman's search for companionship in the coast of Maine. A good story, but somewhat slow.
Stephanie Laurie Weima
Loved loved love made me want to run away AGAIN to Maine.
Nancy Baker
This read was a fresh breath of air from the psychological thrillers I have been reading. Every once in awhile it is good to take a step back and read a story that just causes you to inhale a bit deeper - enjoy the feel and energy of oxygen as it pulses through your being and reinforces that you're still alive. Sometimes we get so caught up in our day-to-day living and trying to fill the agenda we have laid out for ourselves that we forget to enjoy the simple pleasures in life like an afternoon ...more
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 03, 2014 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
Terry Booth
This was a good "summer" read. A kind of cornylove story but had some great Italian recipes I want to try.
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised how quickly I arrived at the final page of this novel, first in an annoyed, then in a grateful way.

Caught up in the culmination of emotions and possibilities for the main character, Angela Russo, the story ended before I was ready. Even if there was so much more to explore and be discovered through the lives of these believable and varied characters, I appreciate (quite ironically) that this is "the way life should be".

Some readers are drawn toward reading a story where everythin
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth Baker Kline novel I've read. They are each remarkably different from each other. That in itself is unusual. Most authors follow a "type" and their voice gives a constant likeness. Not so Kline.
I enjoyed this so much, and in thinking of the characters, realize I feel that I know each very well, even though most had very little page time and little dialogue. There's a frequent undercurrent of humor, and the protagonist is searching. Who is she? Who and what does she want to be?
Laurel Fallon
Chick lit but this is an early book for the author. I could see a bit of historical fiction. Most of her later novels are in the historical style which she does well.
Sep 28, 2014 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
Jul 30, 2014 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
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Easy and light, with a horribly cliched front end, and a tail that sort of drifts off...

This is a hard book to review. The first few chapters are painfully bad, and were I to stop there, it would have gotten a very bad review indeed. It does pick up from there, and is a bit charming in places, and then it sort of stops, on a vaguely optimistic note granted, but without much of an arc.

Also, something to note, this book stripped of recipes (which are often effectively printed twice), and other b
Linda Mainville
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a very fast read. I was absorbed from page 1 and finished it very quickly. My only reservation was the end (this is not a spoiler). I just felt it ended too abruptly and I wanted more. Maybe there’s a sequel in the works? I did like reading the cooking tips and the recipes that she shared, and they’re all listed neatly at the end of the book. If this doesn’t interest you, you may have to zip through those parts. I’m reading Orphan Train next, and from the reviews it appears that it ...more
Aug 28, 2012 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.
Jan 31, 2008 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. :)
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-my-reading
What a marvelous and uplifting book to start off the New Year. I devoured the novel, and was sad when my electronic copy gave me the illusion of a lot more to come - only to find out it was extra content. At first I thought that I was dissatisfied with the ending, but upon reflection, I know that it was actually a brilliant and hopeful conclusion. I found the main character Angela incredibly relatable, and applaud author Christina Baker Kline for making such a moving narrative with so many poign ...more
Lynne Spreen
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story. Ends too soon.

Angela matures over the three months of this well-written story, and I was happy to see that there was still 15% left in my book when it suddenly ended. I don't cook so the pages of recipes at the back weren't my thing. I wanted more of Angela's journey, her life in Maine. Still, I enjoyed the developing of the relationships and laughed at the humor. A good book.
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The way a book should be. I loved this book, although I can’t personally relate to the gifts or challenges of the character, the friends/family/ place theme was poignant and relatable. Transplants need family and I can relate to that having moved so often. It was such a beautiful story, I admit I cried
Carmen Marie
3.5 Stars

I can't resist a good novel set in Maine. Maine, with it's motto, The Way Life Should Be, tends to take on this magical land status in novels. Angela, single, stuck in a job she doesn't love in NYC, can't help but think that life might just be passing her by. After a disastrous party event gone wrong, Angela takes a risk and moves to Maine for a guy, "Maine Catch" she met on a dating site. So, "Maine Catch" doesn't quite end up fitting her idealistic Maine plans as his online persona do
OK, so I picked up The Way Life Should Be by Christina Baker Kline because the cover was almost identical to another book I had read, The Edge of Winter:

The Way Life Should Be by Christina Baker Kline The Edge of Winter by Luanne Rice

The story was a pleasant surprise. Angela Russo is a 30-something who loses her job as an event planner and impulsively moves to Maine at the end of "leaf peeping" season. She meets an interesting group of people and her life begins to revolve around her love of cooking which she learned from her grandmother. There were some funny scenes and s
Gale Pearson
It’s a love story, not really my genre, but it was easy and fun made me hungry
Dec 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listening-to
3.5 The first 20% is pure chick lit, but it evened out and the story improved to heartwarming end.
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This is the right book... 1 21 Oct 14, 2008 08:47PM  
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Christina Baker Kline is the author of New York Times instant bestseller A Piece of the World (2017), about the relationship between the artist Andrew Wyeth and the subject of his best-known painting, Christina’s World. Kline has written six other novels -- Orphan Train, Orphan Train Girl, The Way Life Should Be, Sweet Water, Bird in Hand, and Desire Lines-- and written or edited five works of non ...more
“Every decision I make is determined solely by the spark and limitations of my own perspective” 8 likes
“I have found that the biggest moments in life, the ones that change everything, usually catch you by surprise.” 3 likes
More quotes…