Sunday, October 12, 2014
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Written by the same author who wrote The Secret Life of Bees, this novel is a well-written historical piece inspired by two sisters from Charleston, South Carolina, Sarah and Angelina Grimke, who dedicated their entire lives to ending slavery while at the same time promoting equal rights for women. What's not to love? The book opens with 12-year old Sarah Grimke receiving her birthday gift from her parents: A 10-year old slave named Hetty (a.k.a. Handful) complete with a lavender ribbon tied around her neck. Sarah is both horrified and embarrassed, and the next day pens a certificate of manumission to set Hetty free. Sarah's mother takes the certificate, shreds it and leaves it for Sarah to find to show her who's really in charge. There are parallels between Sarah and Hetty, as both live in the same household and neither have any control of their lives whatsoever. Sarah wants to be a lawyer, which could never happen because she is not a boy, and Hetty wants to be free. Both are prisoners in their own home. This novel spans about 35 years, so we get to watch these two women grow and change, and it really is fascinating to witness social change in action. At the same time, because this is a historically accurate piece, and since we are dealing with this timeframe in history, there are a lot of things in here that are hard to read and to be reminded of. This novel has encouraged me to read more about Sarah and Angelina Grimke, because they are truly worth knowing more about. If you like historically accurate period pieces that will inspire you to learn more, then this would be a great book for you! Read On!