The Invention of Wings

The Invention of Wings

Book - 2015
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Hetty "Handful" Grimk,̌ an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimk ̌household. The Grimk'̌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. On Sarah's eleventh birthday, she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. Over the next thirty-five years, both women 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.
Publisher: Farmington Hills, Michigan : Large Print Press : Gale Cengage Learning, 2015, ♭2014.
ISBN: 9781594138867
Characteristics: 649 pages ;,23 cm.
large print., rda


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Jul 23, 2020

A very timely and fascinating read about the early days of the abolitionist movement in the United States which was launched by Mennonite/Quakers at the 1688 Germantown, PA Protest Against Slavery. Their petition was minimized and ignored by the Quakers until 1754. It planted the seeds for the Declaration of Independence.

Angelina and Sarah Grimke grew up in Charleston, SC in a slave-owning family. This book is a fictionalized account of how they became leading abolitionists and feminists a decade before the Senecca Falls convention in 1848. Sarah Grimke and Lucretia Mott belonged to the same Quaker Meeting group in Philadelphia.

I was most intrigued by the tension between the abolitionist and feminist movements which inspired Sarah Grimke to say to her soon-to-be-brother-in-law Theodore Weld: "How can you ask us to go back to our parlors? To turn our backs on ourselves and on our own sex? We don't wish the movement to split, of course we don't ~ it saddens me to think of it ~ but we can do little for the slave as long as we're under the feet of men. Do what you have to do, censure us, withdraw your support, we'll press on anyway. Now, sirs, kindly take your feet off our necks."

SCOTUS Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has made the last sentence infamous.

I loved that the author opted to weave together the stories of Sarah and Hetty/Handful, the slave Sarah received for her 11th birthday. The real Hetty died young, but the abhorrence Sarah felt about the gift fueled her mission in life. Sarah lived to see Lincoln sign the Emancipation Proclamation, but the Equal Rights Amendment has yet to be passed.

Apr 05, 2020

A particularly gifted author.
I appreciate that the way it was written using the voice of alternate characters allowed me to put it down when I read through heavy parts that required time to digest. (It also helps facilitate picking up where one leaves off.)
I had occasion many years ago, when visiting an art centre in Scottsdale AZ, to view a display of very old memory quilts somewhat similar to those described in the book. I value that experience even more now that I have read this book based on actual history.

Mar 17, 2020

I highly recommend this book. It was a page -turner as the lives of two women unfold and intertwine. The historical accuracy the author offers at the end of the book was so interesting. I wish I would have known the Grimke sisters were real before reading this fictional account. It may have made the story even more riveting.

Dec 22, 2019

recc re life and times of persimmon wilson

FPL_SheriS Dec 05, 2019

Sue Monk Kidd does a great job writing about difficult historical periods and bringing her characters to life.

Oct 30, 2019

I'm always a bit disappointed with an Oprah recommend. Doesn't feel deep enough for me. Anyway this is the fictional story of the real life Sarah Grimkes, who fought against slavery, & her slave that was gifted to her at the age of eleven. The slaves name was handful but I do not know if she was a real person or fictional.

Oct 06, 2019

The writing was well done. I love at the end of the book that the author added information about the real life story, and what changes she made for her version of it

Aug 09, 2019

Oprah gets it! This book is another Oprah favourite! And rightfully so! well researched, I can see and feel what the characters were going through the time of slavery and women pre-emancipation. I like how these two types of slavery overlapped in her book. Kidd did it again! I wonder if this will come to the big screen like the Secret Life of the Bees!

Jun 14, 2019

Excellent book about how slaves tried to survive cruel masters

Feb 11, 2019

One of the best books I have read in a long time. I could not put this book down and read late into the night. Based on the lives of the Grimke family, slave owners in Charleston in the 1800's. Two of the sisters, Sarah and Nina, are spokespersons for the abolishment of slavery. They are also outspoken advocates for women's rights. The author Sue Monk Kidd tells the story so well I became completely immersed in the lives of the people involved. This book brought me to tears on several occasions. Very well researched, be sure to read the Author's Notes at the back of the book. This is a book I will read again sometime.

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Aug 19, 2015

biographical fiction, 11 yr old given a slave. Story over 35 yrs.

mathmami Jun 21, 2014



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