The Way Life Should Be by Christina Baker Kline

The Way Life Should Be: A Novel

From the back cover: Angela Russo finds herself in Maine thanks to a sailing instructor, an impulse, and an idea that in Maine, people live “the way life should be.” But reality on Mount Desert Island is not what she expected. Far from everything familiar, Angela begins to rebuild her life from the ground up. Relying on the flair for Italian cooking she inherited from her grandmother, she begins to discover the pleasures and secrets of her new small community – and to connect her heritage to a future she is only beginning to envision.

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This book is one of those unexpected finds – a book I happened upon while looking for something else. The title grabbed me right away. For years my family vacationed in Maine. Each summer we’d fly to Boston, rent a car, and drive north to Maine for an all-too-short time.

I was a bit envious of Angela with a chance to set her life in a different direction. I admired how brave she was after her reason for going to Maine turned out to be a disappointment. And I liked that she started to look inward for answers to what she really wanted in life. Angela had help from several supporting characters. The most enjoyable for me was Flynn, the owner of a coffee shop. He gave Angela a job, his friendship, and encouragement. Christina Baker Kline made me laugh as I read the banter between Flynn and Angela.

I enjoyed Kline’s writing. When Angela was at the beach letting her dog run she thought about her surroundings:

“Though the air is frigid, the sun makes a valiant effort to warm these rocks, this place, my face. The coast is not cold in the way that people think, or even in the way I imagined before I came. The coldness is threaded with warmth, tempered by moments of grace.”

That describes the way I felt about Angela’s story. Her life did seem cold at times but she shared moments with family members and new friends that were, well, graceful. At least, that’s how I saw it. The Way Life Should Be turned out to be one of those books that was just too short. It was a fast read and it left me wanting to know “what happened next”. I look forward to reading more books by Christina Baker Kline.