Monday, September 8, 2014

Review: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

The Invention of Wings
Sue Monk Kidd
read by Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye
Penguin Audio

Publisher's Synopsis: edited slightly-

Hetty "Handful" Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke's daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd's sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah's eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other's destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women's rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful's cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

My thoughts: I fell in love with the narrative voices of Jenna Lamia (Sarah) and Adepero Oduye
(Handful) from the very first chapters. Their voices and the words of Sue Monk Kidd, told an endearing story of two young girls in the American South in the early 1800's. How their lives intertwined and how they influenced one another made for a remarkable story. It is difficult to write my thoughts and feelings regarding this story. It is powerful, poignant, disturbing and compelling. It invaded my dreams and my waking moments. It is one of my favorites of 2014 and maybe of the last few years. I did not know that the Grimke sisters, Sarah and Angelina were real people, until I listened to the author's words at the end of this audible edition. I had not read the publishers synopsis until the end of the edition. This book was recommended by a member of my local book club and we will meet to discuss it in mid October. I couldn't wait to read it after I read The Secret Life of Bees by the same author. How had I not heard of these two white women who began to speak against slavery and for women's rights until now? Several of the members of my book club are teachers in our local school district, I am sure that is a question I will ask them.

My recommendation:
READ this Book!! How ever and whenever you can get you hands on a copy, read it or listen to it.

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