The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (review)


The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (Author of ‘The Secret Life of Bee’s).

The cover blurb reads, “Sarah Grimke is the middle daughter. The one her mother calls difficult and her father calls remarkable. On Sarah’s eleventh birthday, Hetty ‘Handful Grimke, is taken from the slave quarters she shares with her mother, wrapped in lavender ribbons and presented to Sarah as a gift. Sarah knows what she does next will unleash a world of trouble. She also knows that she cannot accept, and so indeed the trouble begins.”

‘The Invention of Wings’ is based on the true life Grimke sisters. Angelina and Sarah Grimke are born into a privileged Southern plantation family in Charleston, South Carolina. This fictional story follows the life of Sarah and one of her family’s many slaves, Hetty, also known as Handful. It is the story of the rise of the abolitionist movement, the development of women’s rights and the resilience of the human soul.

I really enjoyed hearing both Sarah and Hetty’s voice in turn, as the novel is written from both of their perspectives. Each of the voices perceives the same situation differently. Being a quilter myself, the use of the story quilt made by Hetty’s mother,Charlotte, throughout the book intrigued me to find out more about the use of signs and symbols in African American quilts. I also had to find out more about the real life Grimke sisters, who in the 1830’s are said to be the most infamous and famous women in America for their work with the abolitionist movement and their feminist thinking.

This novel has many facets to it which I feel many readers will find interesting. I really enjoyed this book, and have found that it has stayed with me long after I finished it. Review by a Mundaring Library staff member.

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