The Invention of Wings
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Sue Monk Kidd is without a doubt one of my favorite authors. She crafts her stories with mastery, making each sentence a delicious mouthful, to be savored. The Invention of Wings was no exception. The story revolves around Sarah Grimké, a member of South Carolina’s elite, and Hetty, or “Handful,” roughly her same age, given to her as a birthday present at age 11.
Sarah’s a born abolitionist, witnessing cruel acts against her family’s slaves since dhildhood. She possesses will, desire to make a difference, and yet faces seemingly insurmountable obstacles due to both cultural beliefs/norms as well as her gender. It’s not a happy tale – it’s tragic realism, based, in large part to Kidd’s extensive research (Sarah and Angelina Sarah Grimké really did exist and helped shape the way for feminists and abolitionists alike). Kidd shapes a somewhat happy ending, but it’s happiness won at a severe price. Still, I was left extremely satisfied by the end of the book. It reminded me of my own feminist struggles, trying to break free from past wounds, rebelling against the attitudes and assumptions about marriage and relationship, and more. I always find it useful to remember what I’ve endured to get where I am, and to honor the incredible, soul crushing struggles others have faced.
There’s nothing paranormal about the story, no searing, all-consuming romances take place but still…you owe it to yourself to read this book, if, for nothing more, than to remind yourself of a piece of our history. The stories of people woven through this entire tale have reminded me of the good fight oppressed people have fought and continue to fight – we would not be where we are today were it not for people like Sarah and Angelina Grimké and the numerous characters Sue Monk Kidd thought to remind us of. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Sue Monk Kidd.