Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Review: Invention of Wings

Invention of Wings
by Sue Monk Kidd
Published by Penguin

Invention of Wings takes place in Charleston, SC. It is based on historical characters, the Grimke family. Sarah, and Angelina. This is a part of history that is not well known. Most likely because the sisters were against slavery, and women inequality. It is most likely why the author, Sue Monk Kidd decided to write the book. Because not much is known about the sisters, Angelina and Sarah.

Our book club selected this novel, for September, Invention of Wings. I am so glad we picked this novel. It is the story of Sarah Grimke. Who is Sarah Grimke, you ask? She is part of history that is not well known in the south, particularly, Charleston, SC.

She is the oldest child of a plantation, and slave owner in Charleston,SC..  11 years old Sarah is the main character. Her parents giving her a birthday present. What she didn't figure was the present being a slave.What does a 11 year old child do with a slave, named Hetty.. If she is anything like Sarah. She is defiant. She teaches Hetty how to read, and write. Which is against the law at that time. What a mess she causes. Teaching a slave to read. Hetty, also known as Handful is whipped.

On the other side of the story is Handful's mother Charlotte. She is defiant like Sarah. She finds any opprotunity to find a way to escape. Each time she tries she is found out. Ususally with a beating.

This is why this novel, works on opposing ends.Sarah being defiant, independent. She also lives under the confines of being suffucated by the southern ideas. Then you have Hetty and Charlotte being a slaves.. They have different views of s being a southern girl, and another being a slave. Different ways to look at slavery.

Sarah has strong views being a woman is not going to stop her. She wants to go to college to become a lawyer.  She thought her brother would defend her views being a woman.

But, when her father was having a discussion about her brother becoming a lawyer. She thought this would be a good time for her to discuss herself. It did not work out as planned. Sarah has strong views against inequality of women and slavery.

She was heart broken that her father didn't agree with her. She thought her brother would defend her. The only ambition a woman should have as she is told by her mother. Is getting married, and having children.

Mother entered swaying with her weight. "I took no joy in seeing your hopes quashed" she said. Your father and brother were cruel." But, I believe their mockery was in equal proportion to their astonishment. A lawyer, Sarah? The idea is outlandish. I feel I have failed you bitterly. Your father belives you are an anomalous girl with your craving of books and your aspirations. But, he's wrong. Every girl comes into the world with varying degrees of ambition. Even if its only the hope fo not belonging body and soul to her husband. Every girl must have an ambition knocked out of her for her own good. You are unusual to fight the inevitable. You resisted, and now it came to pass to being broken like a horse..
After this incident, her mother is pregnant. She gives birth to Angelina. Sarah wants to be Angelina's godmother. With some apprehension her mother agrees with the plan. For many years after. The sisters are close.  But, then Sarah is given no choice she must travel with her father to Philadelphia. Sarah is saddled again. This time to travel with her father to Philadelphia to convalence, and  care for her father who is ill. While there she learns that her father is there to die

While living in Philadelphia she learns about the activism against slavery with the Quakers. She decides to stay. For years conflicting view about staying or returning to Charleston.

The part I most enjoyed is when Handful, and Sarah are cleaning the chandalier. Handful says, My body may be a slave, but my mind is not shackled. Where Sarah is opposite.  I will tell you later on in years. The Grimke sisters are not welcome in Charleston.

The Grimke sisters in history are thought of as trouble makers. Not true abolishists because. They also believed in Women's rights. The movement felt they would facture the slavery movement. Maybe it did, but they were important to women's rights. If it wasn't for them. Women may not have gotten the vote.

My Review: I absolutely loved the narrative. The author told the story with opposing ends. All the characters have some type of inequality that they are dealing with. Slavery, women's rights, etc. I loved the different points of views of the characters. Sarah then telling the story of the southern culture compared to the Quakers ideals. What the views of slavery of the northern ideals. The way the story was told couldn't be done any other way. I think a straight narrative wouldn't work.

There is not many historical fiction during the era of the Civil War, and slavery about inequality.
Most books are written by men for men. I absolutely recommend it to someone who loves historical fiction, wants to know about abolitionist. If you like to read novels, with strong characters, and strong ideals, I recommend this one.  You may look at women's right a different way. You can also find a newspaper article here.