For Black History Month, I enjoyed reading the New York Times Bestseller –The Invention of Wings. It’s my second book this year and it took me about 3 days to read it all.
Here’s my review.
The Invention of Wings is an American historical novel by Sue Monk Kidd, set in the early 1800s in Charleston. The story chronicles the life of Sarah Grimké, an aristocrat and her slave Hetty “Handful”, who was given to her as a gift her on her eleventh birthday, and both women’s struggle for liberation.
Hetty’s mother, Charlotte, told her folk tales of her ancestors in Africa; how they could fly over trees and clouds, and how they had lost their wings when they were captured and sold to slavery. This tale fueled Hetty’s dream that someday she would be a free black woman. In the meantime, she took after her mother as seamstress of the Grimké family, and endured the struggles of slavery and the eventual loss of Charlotte.
In the Grimké household, Sarah, the middle daughter of a prosperous and prominent lawyer, fought for freedom from her societal constraints. After accidentally witnessing the whipping of a slave at age three, she developed a speech impediment and became socially awkward. She also became unwaveringly opposed to slavery and its brutal laws. Sarah fell in love with her father’s books and was determined to become a lawyer like him. However, women’s rights at the time would not allow her pursue her ambitions. Despite the challenges and painful sacrifices, Sarah became a leader in abolition and one of the earliest feminists, and was joined by her younger sister Angelina.
Pros and Cons
The story is fast-paced and extremely descriptive. Sue uses the old American vocabulary to bring the characters to life, using adjectives accurately to paint a vivid picture. You could almost see, feel and touch the scenes in the book.
It’s about Girl-Power focusing on two women’s friendship and how they overcame their lives difficulty and triumphed.
It promotes a firm faith in God and in doing what is right despite how difficult the consequences may appear to be.
It has a happy ending. I looooooove happy endings.
Slavery is not a topic I like to read about. It’s just too gloomy. However, the author has a fascinating sense of humor which makes the ordeals bearable.
The story is inspired by real women: Sarah and Angelina Grimké, and Hetty. It is a brilliant story of two women’s struggle for freedom: the struggle of Hetty to find her wings and the passionate pursuit of Sarah to liberate her mind, and their unlikely friendship at the time.
It is a story of struggle, pain, shame and depression, but also of feminism, optimism, wisdom, courage, persistence, defiance, and the hope that our dreams, despite the odds can be realized if we refuse to give up on them.
I certainly recommend you read this book!