5 Aug 2015

THE INVENTION OF WINGS.


THE INVENTION OF WINGS by SUE MONK KIDD.

BACK COVER BLURB: 'Master Grimke named me Hetty, but Mauma looked on me the day I came into the world, how I was born too soon, and she called me Handful.'


Handful's always been trouble. A slave in the Grimke household like her beloved mother Charlotte, Handful knew the rules, in all their brutality, but no one can stop her pushing them to the limit. When, at ten years old, she's presented to her owner's most difficult daughter, Sarah, as a birthday present, the sparks begin to fly ...

FIRST SENTENCE {Part One: November 1803-1805: Hetty Handful Grimke}:There was a time in Africa the people could fly.


MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 165}: There'd been talk from certain clergy and pious women about treating slaves with Christian sympathy, and now and then some rare soul would speak of freeing the slaves altogether. But equality, ludicrous.


SOURCE: A Reading Group read.


MY THOUGHTS: Set in the deep south at a time when the author informs us by law a slave was three-fifths of a person, The Invention Of Wings is part fiction and part factual albeit part fictional in that it features the story of real-life abolitionist sisters, Sarah and Angelina Grimke.


Set between 1803 and 1838, the book is written in six parts with each chapter alternating between slave Handful's story and that of Sarah.

Whilst I thought the book readable enough - Sarah's story fascinating though oddly enough to me less believable than that of Handful, each of the two women's desire for freedom (Handful's from slavery, Sarah's from the oppression of her gender) poignant - I didn't think it gritty enough and therefore though very moving and, on occasion, harrowing somewhat lacking in realism. 


9 comments:

Kelly said...

Oh dear... it doesn't sound as if you enjoyed this nearly as much as I did. My reading group had a wonderful discussion about it on many different levels. Perhaps that's, in part, a result of our cultural differences.

Tracy Terry said...

Looking forward to what the rest of my reading group thought of this one. We had read The Secret Life Of Bees by this author with very mixed views.

I can't help but wonder if I compare all books of this genre with Roots which was the first book about slavery that I ever read and to this day still think is one of the best of its kind.

Brandi Kosiner said...

Oh wow, sorry to hear that the realism wasn't as much as you'd hope

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I was curious about this one, but if it lacks in realism, I do think I'll pass. I think you need to bring more of the harrowing aspects to slavery if you are going to write a book about it. Hope your next book is better.

Literary Feline said...

My mom really liked this one and gave me her copy. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I am looking forward to it. I am sorry this one didn't work for you.

Suko said...

Tracy, thanks for sharing your honest thoughts about this book. I have not read many reviews of this one.

Brian Joseph said...

This book sounds like it had so much potential. It seems to delve into such an important story and important themes.

I agree that a story like this needs realism. I can see how it being not gritty enough would mar it.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I haven't heard of this one before- but it does sound like a good reading club book. Always fun when there is a lot to discuss. I am curious about the alternating chapters and POV. Thanks for sharing!

Gina R said...

Hmm. I don't know. I still think I might check it out. Certainly caught my attention and I've heard this author's work was pretty good from several dozen sources. Better luck on your next read!