Book Report - The Invention of Wings

I recently joined a book club, and this month's book is The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. I had never heard of this book, so I went into it completely blind. I enjoyed it, and learned a bit too.
The book is set on a plantation in Charleston in the early 1800's, and follows two very different women throughout the course of their lives. The first is Sarah Grimke, daughter of the plantation owner with strong abolitionist views. The second, Hetty "Handful" Grimke, a slave on the plantation. Freedom, and what it means to be truly "free" is the theme here. The book takes the point of view that there is a difference between freedom of the body and freedom of the mind, and that you can have one without the other.

For the most part, I liked this book. However, it was constantly comparing the plight of women of the time to that of the slaves, and I didn't think that was a fair comparison. I know women had basically no rights at that time and were also considered "property" in many ways, but in my opinion what the slaves were going through at that time was 100 times worse...really just unimaginable. Sarah Grimke was a real person (this was a historical fiction novel.) She was a very influential abolitionist speaker and did often compare slavery to women's issues of the day, but it just didn't work for me here. Oh, poor Sarah can't become a lawyer because her father doesn't believe women should be educated. Oh, poor Sarah is ostracized from her home for becoming a Quaker. In the meantime, Handful and the other slaves in the book are being physically tortured for the most minor of infractions. It was like comparing apples to oranges. Separate they are both two really great stories, but the combination of the two definitely made one story feel lesser than the other.

I really enjoyed Sue Monk Kidd's writing style though. The point of view flip-flops each chapter between Sarah and Handful, and that really helps move any story along. She is great at character development, and I would definitely read her again.

FYI - I decided to do this reading challenge this year. With this book I checked off "A book by an author you've never read before".

Also, I track all the books I read on Goodreads. It's such a fun site to track what you read and see what everyone else is reading. Feel free to connect with me there to talk books.

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