The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Updated: Feb 14, 2020
Summary: Sarah Grimke and Hetty Handful, both live under the same roof in Charleston, but have very different lives. Both women, though, are bound to find their versions of freedom.
Review: Usually, I am hesitant when I pick up a book in which a white person (like my ghostly self) tries to write about the experiences of a slave. I start nail biting that it's going to turn into another "The Help" situation. When it comes to The Invention of Wings, it's clear Sue Monk Kidd did her research and I found myself enjoying the different perspectives. If she had chosen to write about just Sarah, I don't think the book would have had nearly the same effect.
It wasn't until close to the end, when I recognized some other names like Lucretia Mott, that I realized that most of the characters in the novel were based on real people. Sarah and her sister, Angelina, were real suffragettes who fought for abolition and women's rights. While Kidd took some liberties with the details of their lives, she appears to have stayed true to their nature.
The added story of Hetty Handful and her mother, neither of whom were real, added the extra piece to the story to make it meaningful and connected the Grimke family to the events happening in Charleston at the time.
All of the pieces were brilliantly stitched together like one of Charlotte's quilts to bring to life the tatters of history and the true horrors of slavery, as well as the fight and sacrifices it took to achieve abolition.
This is a great book that should be read, especially now, as a reminder to not repeat such atrocities.