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The Invention of Wings (2014)

by Sue Monk Kidd

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,9322832,203 (4.16)199
"The story follows Hetty "Handful" Grimke, a Charleston slave, and Sarah, the daughter of the wealthy Grimke family. The novel begins on Sarah's eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership over Handful, who is to be her handmaid. "The Invention of Wings" follows the next thirty-five years of their lives. Inspired in part by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke (a feminist, suffragist and, importantly, an abolitionist), Kidd allows herself to go beyond the record to flesh out the inner lives of all the characters, both real and imagined"--… (more)
Recently added byCarrieWuj, Arina40, private library, TWFMH, Smsw, ferskner
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    The Book of Night Women by Marlon James (hoddybook)
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    BookshelfMonstrosity: Strong female characters are central to these dramatic, emotional stories. Intertwining historical events with themes of slavery, women's rights, and family loyalties, both of these novels are told in alternating voices.
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» See also 199 mentions

English (281)  German (2)  All languages (283)
Showing 1-5 of 281 (next | show all)
There are 2 subjects I tend to avoid in my pleasure reading: the Holocaust and slavery. Graphic descriptions of misery and pain are haunting....This book, though haunting, doesn't linger in the horrors of slavery, but juxtaposes it with hope and self-determination. The narrative alternates between Hetty (Handful) a house-slave with extraordinary sewing talent, and Sarah Grimke, a true historical figure who is a member of the family that owns Hetty. As Hetty notes, Miss Sarah isn't free either. Sarah and her younger sister Angelina later become renowned champions of women's rights and abolition, but it is a slow, painful process coming out into such liberating roles, full of little insubordinations, family disputes and public disgrace. Hetty follows a similar trajectory toward freedom as she learns her true worth. Beautifully written, with excellent characterization and incorportion of historical facts, this book tackles slavery's injustice with personal triumph. ( )
  CarrieWuj | Oct 24, 2020 |
This book annoyed me so much. Full review to come ( )
  Lilac22 | Oct 4, 2020 |
While reading/listening: Real women, real relationships, modern take on how to be a principled woman and not defined by your spouse/partner. I'm taking a lot of personal lessons in this telling.

Excellent reading recommendations at the end of the book - there is so, so much reading to do in this lifetime.

After reading:

The continued injustice of slavery is very clear to this reader. What contribution does Sue Monk Kidd provide that I have not been able to obtain (emotionally) from reading other points of reference - historical (factual or fiction)?

Spirituality. Sue Monk Kidd takes the spiritual journey of extraordinary women (who were REAL) and outlines their progress into fully formed peoples, how each endeavored to find identify her own determination and action, removed from philosophy or inherited beliefs.

Could I have come to this book at a better time in my own spiritual evolution? Clearly not.

The role of religion in helping women to bond/refasten to bonds is also very interesting. I have also found this to be true in my experience, as I have gravitated between belonging and rejecting the community of faith in the form of institutional religion. The broader (and subtle message) is that every woman and slave must have her wing(s) and the (s) is the bond of another, which may not be your spouse but the lineage of another woman in your life - mother/sister or other.

My heart sings with the wings of this story. ( )
  maitrigita | Sep 27, 2020 |
Couldn't get into it. Gave up after a few chapters. ( )
  dkayw | Aug 26, 2020 |
Well written and inspiring. The story of women breaking the bonds of slavery and sexism during a turbulent time in our history. This story is based on real people and events. ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 281 (next | show all)
Both Handful and Sarah are admirable characters, though rather disappointingly so. Improbable allies are most engaging when they make life hard for each other and generally it takes them a while to find their common pulse. But Sarah empathizes so completely with Handful from the very beginning that we never get to doubt their innate sisterhood. While their identities as mistress and slave imply conflict, it’s not a conflict played out between them. Handful’s rich resentment is rarely directed at Sarah. How could it be? The actual Sarah Grimké may have been as earnest and honorable as she is here, but a little less righteousness might have furnished this story with a wider wingspan.
added by ozzer | editNew York Times, SUZANNE BERNE (Jan 24, 2014)
 
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Sandy Kidd
with all my love
First words
There was a time in Africa the people could fly.
Quotations
The truth, she said, is that every girl must have ambition knocked out of her for her own good. You are unusual only in your determination to fight what is inevitable. You resisted and so it came to this, to being broken like a horse.
Life is arranged against us, Sarah. And it's brutally worse for Handful and her mother and sister. We're all yearning for a wedge of sky, aren't we? I suspect God plants these yearnings in us so we'll at least try and change the course of things.
"Our slaves were happy," she would boast.  It never occurred to her their gaiety wasn't contentment, but survival.
I have one mind for the master to see.  I have another mind for what I know is me.
Color prejudice is at the bottom of everything.  If it's not fixed, the plight of the Negro will continue long after abolition.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"The story follows Hetty "Handful" Grimke, a Charleston slave, and Sarah, the daughter of the wealthy Grimke family. The novel begins on Sarah's eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership over Handful, who is to be her handmaid. "The Invention of Wings" follows the next thirty-five years of their lives. Inspired in part by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke (a feminist, suffragist and, importantly, an abolitionist), Kidd allows herself to go beyond the record to flesh out the inner lives of all the characters, both real and imagined"--

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Book description
Haiku summary
Two girls - pampered, slave
Both fighting to change their lives
They escape their bonds
(sushitori)

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