About the book: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd takes the true story of sisters Sarah and Angelina Grimké, historic leaders of the abolitionist movement, and weaves it into a fictional tale told from the perspectives of Sarah and Hetty “Handful”, a slave Sarah was forced to accept as a gift on her eleventh birthday. The story takes place in Charleston, South Carolina in the 1800’s before the Civil War, and follows Sarah and Handful from childhood to womanhood as they fight to break free from the prisons of their own lives. Sarah, the daughter of a judge, aspired to follow in her father’s footsteps someday, despite the fact that society at the time desired women to be married and minimally educated. Though becoming a judge never becomes her reality, Sarah finds a way to live a life in line with her beliefs and desires for equality despite many obstacles and losses. Handful, trapped within the confines of slavery as a hand maid and seamstress, longs to escape. Throughout the novel, Handful gives a detailed account of the tragedy and the barbaric nature of slavery. The unique bond between Sarah and Handful is fortified by both of their desires to be free. As Handful says to Sarah, “My body might be a slave, but not my mind. For you, it’s the other way round.”
What I like: I have read one of Sue Monk Kidd’s books in the past (The Secret Life of Bees), so I had high expectations for this book. I’m happy to say that those expectations were met! What I enjoy most about this book is Handful’s perspective, which I believe adds a lot of emotional substance to the novel as she goes in depth about her life as a slave and about her relationship with her mother. Handful’s story complements and strengthen’s Sarah’s story, and this novel would not be what it is without Handful. Although the book is a heavy read, it does have a happy ending.
What I don’t like: Honestly, there isn’t anything about the book I didn’t like. I think it was very well written, which made it easy to read.
Overall Impression: The Invention of Wings is a heart-gripping read that will inspire you to stand up for your own beliefs, and live a life you are proud of.
I recommend reading this book if… you are a fan of historical fiction, want to learn more about the abolitionist movement and the horrors of slavery, enjoy books about the South, or want to read about some courageous women who completely kick butt.
Have you read this book? What do you like or dislike about it?