Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Length: 384 pages
Published: May 2015

In December, my book club - Richly Read - did a gently used book swap, and I scored The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. I had heard good things about the book. I also think it was an Oprah Book Club selection at one point. I was really excited to dig in, but only just got time to start reading it in late May. It was worth the wait! 

The book fits the historical fiction genre, but is essentially a creative biography of the Grimké sisters, specifically Sarah Grimké, and their work to abolish slavery and their fight for women's equality in the United States in the 19th century. Interwoven is an account of a fictional slave character, Hetty "Handful" Grimké, who is given to Sarah on her 11th birthday as a waiting maid of sorts. The book alternates perspectives between Sarah and Handful where the reader learns of their lives and struggles as a woman and a woman slave, respectively. 

It took me a bit to get into this story, but I attribute that to me and not the author. The prose is beautiful and the story is heart-wrenching. By the end I was totally and emotionally invested. Last year I read A Tangled Mercy by Joy Jordan-Lake, which features some of the same real people/literary characters and historical events that are featured in The Invention of Wings. If you haven't already I'd encourage you to read both books, starting with Kidd's book. This book is yet another perspective on a horrible time in U.S. history, but also very important that we remember lest we repeat the same atrocities. Just like the Grimké sisters stood up for justice in a time when it was very unpopular to do so. We still need people of all races and backgrounds to stand up to the continued injustices that permeate our society today. So, while a book steeped in a time where African Americans were only considered 3/5 of a person, we readers can still find value and relevance today. 

Recommendation: I enjoyed this book, not because it is an easy read, but because it is an important one. I encourage you to pick up a copy today.  

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful. 


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