Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

image from LibraryThing
Handful, a slave, and Sarah, a woman, tell the story of slavery, Charleston and early abolitionists.  Both women know they are stuck in their spot. Handful has grown up as the skilled seamstress daughter of a slave who sees there is more to the world than being stuck inside the walls of a vindictive missus.  Sarah is frozen in a world where she doesn't fit in - a world where women are meant to be seen and not heard and her love of learning doesn't fit.

When Sarah is 11 - Handful was given to her as her personal slave.  As a defiant act she frees Handful using the law books in her father's library.  But, her father tears up the decree and it is the first time she begins to understand that she too is a slave in a different way.

Kidd follows the lives of these two women alternating chapters between their voices. Handful weaves the history of her mauma and the slave uprising in Charleston.  Sarah weaves her way through the social seasons with only one marriage possibility and he mother breathing down her neck.

And then Sarah accompanies her father to the north for his health. It is there that she first hears about Quakers and begins the path to becoming one of the most renowned Abolitionists.  And while on this path - she is able to help Handful on her own path. 

This is an amazing book.  A book built on the real Sarah Grimke's life.  Monk does a tremendous job of weaving reality and fiction together to build a story that makes me want to know more about the real Sarah Grimke'.  That is a gift!