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The Invention Of Wings (Thorndike Press…
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The Invention Of Wings (Thorndike Press Large Print Basic) (original 2014; edition 2014)

by Sue Monk Kidd (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,8902792,220 (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)
Member:Melwilk
Title:The Invention Of Wings (Thorndike Press Large Print Basic)
Authors:Sue Monk Kidd (Author)
Info:Thorndike Press (2014), Edition: Large Print, 661 pages
Collections:Read, Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (2014)

  1. 110
    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (readysetgo)
  2. 90
    The Help by Kathryn Stockett (readysetgo)
  3. 10
    Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (vwinsloe)
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    The Book of Night Women by Marlon James (hoddybook)
    hoddybook: Both look at the horrors of slavery with an emphasis the womens lot.
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    Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald (arrwa)
    arrwa: Story of struggle and survival.
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    The Wedding Gift by Marlen Suyapa Bodden (mybookshelf)
    mybookshelf: Both explore the relationship between a black slave girl and a privileged white girl.
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    Property by Valerie Martin (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Both of these dramatic novels explore the troubled relationships between slaves and slave owners in the American South using strong female protagonists, as well as exploring the issues all women faced during this dark period in history.… (more)
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    Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth (vwinsloe)
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    Harriet and Isabella by Patricia O'Brien (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    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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    megk11676: A memoir of a girl growing up in Puerto Rico and then in Brooklyn in the 1950's-1960's.
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» See also 199 mentions

English (278)  German (1)  All languages (279)
Showing 1-5 of 278 (next | show all)
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 |
I thought this was a good book with a great book striving to be set free. Still one worth reading. Appreciated the significance of the 'silver button' but was disappointed it didn't appear at the very end of the book it was as powerful a symbol as the quilt. Read the book to see for yourself.

The alternating characters voice reminded me of another interesting book called 'The Orphan Train'. Both are American Tales.


( )
  Jolene.M | Jul 30, 2020 |
It's a little intimidating to have such a negative opinion of such a well-loved book by such a well-love author. But nevertheless, I have some... thoughts on what Sue Monk Kidd cooked up in The Invention of Wings and I feel like this is a good story about staying in your lane.

The Invention of Wings is told in two POVs - Sarah Grimke and her slave Handful. The first problem here should be obvious, and that is simply that we are far past the need to have an old white woman write a story from the point of view of a Black slave. Sue Monk Kidd got away with some stuff when she wrote The Secret Life of Bees, but I think that story worked because she kept it in Lily's POV. Had she turned around and tried to write August, June, or May... I would have been out. Here? I'm out.

Considering she set out to tell the story of two abolitionist growing up in Charleston, SC, the edge of almost white savoriness to this book is... disappointing, but unsurprising. I do believe the author generally thinks she put a good story out there, one that is against racism... while she is passively marginalizing Black voices by using her power to tell Black stories. We are past this. What she could have done, and perhaps it would have been great, is co-write this story with a Black author and let them tell Handful's story.

But. That's not what happened. So immediately, this rubs me the wrong way.

Sarah Grimke is a real historical figure - a young woman who joined the Quakers with one of her younger sisters and spoke against slavery. And while the subject of slavery does come up frequently, it always seem to take Sarah by surprise. "Oh dear brothers, what are you talking about? Slavery? Oh that's a terrible institution." And then they laugh her off. It's peppered in like someone holding heir head high and saying they are doing an important thing, but actually they are more interested in something else and keep forgetting about the Important Thing until it's time for a bit of plot advancement. For Sarah, this is so much about romance. There's a throwaway section early in the book about a beau that didn't work out, pages and pages of unnecessary story if Sue Monk Kidd really wanted to write a culturally important story.

But I don't think that's what Sue Monk Kidd really set out to do. This feels like a book about relationships - romantic, parental, and between friends. It's not altogether all that heartwarming, either. There's a lot of awkward telling and dramatic speeches that fall away useless and brave actions that amount to nothing and just... it was a waste. It felt like a waste of time and paper. And I know that's mean! I'm sorry. It's how I feel.

Perhaps Sarah Grimke was a uniquely fascinating woman. But The Invention of Wings feels like a story written to capitalize on a romantic story using social justice and Black suffering as a backdrop and weak motivator, in a similar vein as her other highly successful book but with far less respect or impact. You can skip this one. Really. ( )
  Morteana | Jul 26, 2020 |
An interesting juxtaposition of two women who appear totally different outward. Hetty is a slave but she keeps her dignity by maintaining that her mind is free. Sarah is not a slave but she is not totally free to do what she wants. As a lady, she can't be a jurist like her brothers although she is intellectually more able than them. she can't free Hetty and speak about the rights of slaves. This story is about how the two of them 'invented wings' and got their freedom. Hetty and her sister escaped to freedom eventually with the help of Sarah, while Sarah and her sister became great speakers about the rights of slaves and women. ( )
  siok | Mar 29, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 278 (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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