Reading: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

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If you enjoyed Sue Monk Kidd’s first book, The Secret Life of Bees…and who didn’t?…you will want to read The Invention of Wings.

The novel is set in the early 1800s in South Carolina.  Young Sarah is given the gift of a slave, named Handful, for her 11th birthday. Beginning her lifelong career as an abolitionist, she tries to ‘return’ Handful to her parents, but is unsuccessful. Handful becomes her personal slave.  The novel is narrated in alternating chapters by Sarah and Handful. Sarah is not able to become the lawyer she wants to be in order to fight for the abolition of slavery because of the sexism of her time. Handful documents her grizzly travails with her ‘real owner’, Sarah’s mother, as well as her heartbreak of being separated from her mother…always trying to find her. The novel is based on the real life of Sarah Grimke, who came from a slave-holding family in Charleston, moved to Philadelphia and became a Quaker, spoke out against slavery and stood up for women’s rights. Handful is an imagined character, whose life story and point of view is what moves this novel. The book is riveting.  The story spans 35 years and you cannot wait to find out what happens in the end. Even if you think you know… you don’t!

 

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