Read: The Invention of Wings

The Inveniton of Wings on The Sentimentalist

The Invention of Wings (a novel inspired by the lives of the Grimké sisters who were the first female abolition agents and among the earliest major American feminist thinkers) seems to last forever and fly by at the same time. I adored Sue Monk Kidd’s book The Secret Life of Bees and her most recent novel tackles many of the same topics like the power of female friendship, class, race, and gender issues. While reading I felt both inspired and awkwardly uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but wonder what stance I would have taken if I had lived in the deep south during the most turbulent years of slavery and abolition. I wondered if I would have had the strength and courage to stand up to society and my family when faced with the horrifying conditions that slaves were subjected to. And I adversely wondered if I would have had the strength and courage to survive the life of a slave. I read, I cried, I got angry, and I learned. Kidd’s novel ping-pongs between the narrative voices of a young wealthy southerner named Sarah Grimké and the slave she “inherits” on her 11th birthday. Both voices are achingly honest as they try to make sense of the parameters that restrict their friendship, education, and dreams. This book is a poignant and devastating look at some of the worst moments of our countries history. I feel better for having read it. We can’t change the past but we can learn from it.

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  1. I loved this book too!!! But wow! What a heartbreaker…really haunting!

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