Friday, April 18, 2014

Books: The Invention of Wings

The Invention of Wings
By Sue Monk Kidd
Copyright 2014
360 pages

This story is inspired by history and the true story of Sarah Grimke, an early abolitionist in the 1830s. In real life, Sarah, at age 11, was given a young slave girl for her handmaid. Sarah taught the young slave to read, and the slave was beaten so severely that she later died.

Kidd reimagines the story, breathing life into both Sarah and Hettie, the slave girl. She allows the slave girl to live, though, and offers the reader a look at what a life in chains - figuratively and literally - really means.

This a book about courage, hope, faith, and women. Mostly it is about women and their need to find their voices - their heartbeats that give meaning to life beyond the prescribed roles dictated by a patriarchal and unforgiving society. I fear it is a tale that still rings true for women even today, for the many who are kept bound by the dictates of economy and lack of education.

It is also a good reminder of the times this country has attempted to leave behind, and a hit upside the head to those who think we have stepped so far that periods like these are best forgotten. We are doomed to repeat what we forget, and this is something better remembered.

I recommend this book highly to anyone who wants to read about virtue and who would like to understand what courage really means. If you are interested in reading how one might go about fulfilling the dreams of life, you might find your own courage in the passages of this book.

The characters portrayed here will be staying with me for a very long time.

Oprah picked this book as one of her book club picks. You can see a short interview with Sue Monk Kidd here. Oprah writes about why she chose the book here. She calls it "a conversation changer" and there is no argument from me. I hope it changes conversation in the living room of every home.


  1. That appears to be a book well worth reading. I'll have to add it to my reading list. Boy, that list gets longer and longer. I have so much I want to read!

  2. Thanks for posting your review--sounds like a good one to pick up.


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