The Invention of Wings

The Invention of Wings

Book - 2014
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"The story follows Hetty "Handful" Grimke, a Charleston slave, and Sarah, the daughter of the wealthy Grimke family. The novel begins on Sarah's eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership over Handful, who is to be her handmaid. "The Invention of Wings" follows the next thirty-five years of their lives. Inspired in part by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke (a feminist, suffragist and, importantly, an abolitionist), Kidd allows herself to go beyond the record to flesh out the inner lives of all the characters, both real and imagined"--
Publisher: New York :, Viking,, 2014.
ISBN: 9780670024780
Branch Call Number: FIC KIDD
Characteristics: 373 pages ; 25 cm


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Jun 19, 2018

I have read a number of books around the topic of slavery. Hands down this one is the most amazing! Painted more human, ON BOTH SIDES then anything I have read! Tragic, Funny, Sad, and Triumphant all in turns!

Jun 13, 2018

This was an exciting read that held my interest all the way through. I wish there was more time to dedicate to Sarah Grimke's career as an abolitionist, but I highly recommend the book.

patcumming Feb 09, 2018

I love reading books about a history that I didn't previously know. Kidd's portrayal of Grimke sisters is an engaging read. Highly recommended.

Dec 13, 2017

An interesting historical fiction about slavery. I learned a lot about the issues of slavery and women's rights. I had never heard about the Grimke sisters.

ArapahoeCynthiaK Oct 17, 2017

Slavery lived thru the eyes of the plantation owner's daughter, Sarah, and the slave, Handful, who was her 11th birthday present. Both of their stories are compelling and heartfelt. Really loved that Sarah's story was based on a real person. Also enjoyed the idea of story quilts as a pictorial diary. For more information, see PBS' The Abolitionists.

Oct 17, 2017

When Sarah Grimke is given Hetty, aka Handful, as her personal slave on her 11th birthday, she begins her lifelong journey towards freedom for both Handful and herself. Spanning the years 1803 to 1838, the reader is swept along on Sarah's journey to abolish slavery and find intellectual and economic freedom for herself. This novel, based on historical records, details the laws and methods used to control the slave economy in the South while also fighting the growing abolitionist movement in the North. This is a mesmerizing read that details our not so glorious past that still has repercussions in today's divided America. The novel is the October 2017 selection of the Willa Cather Book Club.

Jul 07, 2017

The story of Sara, Nina and Handful evolves around a background of slavery in the U.S. Their lives evoke feelings of rage and revulsion over the absolute misery that these people endured. Historical fact, intermingled with fiction, makes an excellent read. Would recommend it to anyone who wishes to look back on this issue.

Apr 11, 2017

I love a fictional tale wrapped around a real life situation and I thought this one was well researched, powerful and engrossing. I learned so much from this book and enjoyed every minute of it.

Mar 26, 2017

Kidd presents two perspectives of 19th century slavery in the Deep South through the alternate voices of young Handful, the child-slave of silver-spoon-in-her-mouth Sarah, the child-owner of Handful. Through them we see the brutal cruelty that held slaves as non-humans, and the dependency of Whites on the system to ensure their wealth and power. The story absorbed me with its continual unfolding growth of the main characters, the conflicted plot line, and Kidd’s lovely imagery.

Librarian_Deb Feb 24, 2017

Sarah Grimke is given a slave girl - Handful - as a birthday present on her 11th birthday. Even though Sarah has grown up on a plantation in the South where slavery has always been a part of her life, she recoils from the present. Even though she doesn't want a slave and is opposed to the very idea of slavery, she finds that there is no way she can give Handful back or free her. Sarah and Handful alternate telling the story of their lives, which are forever connected by this strange master/slave bond. One of the interesting parallels in the book is to see the relationship that each of them has with her mother. Handful is close to her mother, yet throughout the books he finds our more and more secrets about her mother's life--secrets that were often hidden from her to protect her from awful realities. She ends up drawing a lot of inspiration from her mother's strength and courage. Sarah's relationship with her mother is very strained however, as her mother wants her to grow up to be the typical southern woman and Sarah chooses instead to be an abolitionist and a Quaker. There are hints though that her mother is only trying to get Sarah to accept the limitations that women faced at that time, and that she fears that Sarah will have a hard life is she tries to buck the system.
This was a great book for discussion, and our book discussion group had an engaging talk about the many issues it covered. Sarah Grimke was a real person and she and her sister Angelina were abolitionists, public speakers, and authors. One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was learning about them and their place in history as they pushed the boundaries of what women were allowed to do during that time period. I definitely recommend this novel to anyone interested in history, racial relations, and how slavery affects human relationships.

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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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