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Cover image for The invention of wings
Format:
Title:
The invention of wings
ISBN:
9781410465320

9781594138867

9781611290837
Edition:
Large print edition.
Publication:
Waterville : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, cengage Learning, 2014.
Physical Description:
651 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.
Summary:
Hetty "Handful" Grimké, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimké household. The Grimké's daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women. On Sarah's eleventh birthday, she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. Over the next thirty-five years, both women strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other's destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love. As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women's rights movements.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.3 19.0.
Geographic Term:
Holds:

Available:*

Library
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Kidd
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LARGE PRINT - KIDD
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LP FIC KIDD 2014
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FICTION KIDD
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LP Kidd, S.
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LP Kidd, S.
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LP FIC KIDD
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Kidd
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Summary

Summary

A New York Times Bestselling AuthorWriting at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world.Hetty "Handful" Grimke, an urban slave in early 19th century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls of the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke's daughter, Sarah, who has always known she is meant to do something large in the world, is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women. On Sarah's eleventh birthday, she is given ownership of ten-year-old Handful, and we follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years.


Author Notes

Sue Monk Kidd was born in Sylvester, Georgia on August 12, 1948. She received a B.S. in nursing from Texas Christian University in 1970 and worked throughout her twenties as a registered nurse and college nursing instructor.

She got her start in writing at the age of 30 when a personal essay she wrote for a writing class was published in Guideposts and reprinted in Reader's Digest. She went on to become a contributing editor at Guideposts and a freelancer. She primarily writes non-fiction, but is best known for her novel, The Secret Life of Bees, which won the 2004 Book Sense Paperback book of the Year. The book was made into a movie in 2008. Her other works include God's Joyful Surprise, When the Heart Waits, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, Firstlight, and Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story. The Mermaid Chair won the 2005 Quill Award for General Fiction and was adapted into a television movie by Lifetime.

Sue's title, The Invention of Wings, was selected as the Oprah Book Club 2.0 read in January, 2014. This title also made The New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Kidd's novel spans more than three decades and follows the lives of "Handful"-a 10-year-old slave living in Charleston in the early 19th-century with the Grimke family-and Sarah Grimke-the remarkable daughter of the house, whom, on her 11th birthday, is given Handful as a gift. Oduye and Lamia share the narration in this audio edition, with the former reading Handful's sections of the book and the latter handling Sarah's. Oduye skillfully captures the essence of Handful. Her pacing, tone, and annunciation are just right, and the southern accent she reads with pitch perfect. Lamia turns in an equally enjoyable performance. Her airy narration, steady pacing, and southern accent more than do justice to Sarah. Fans of Kidd's novel will be delighted. A Viking hardcover. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Kirkus Review

Kidd (The Mermaid Chair, 2005, etc.) hits her stride and avoids sentimental revisionism with this historical novel about the relationship between a slave and the daughter of slave owners in antebellum Charleston. Sarah Grimk was an actual early abolitionist and feminist whose upbringing in a slaveholding Southern family made her voice particularly controversial. Kidd re-imagines Sarah's life in tandem with that of a slave in the Grimk household. In 1803, 11-year-old Sarah receives a slave as her birthday present from her wealthy Charleston parents. Called Hetty by the whites, Handful is just what her name implies--sharp tongued and spirited. Precocious Sarah is horrified at the idea of owning a slave but is given no choice by her mother, a conventional Southern woman of her time who is not evil but accepts slavery (and the dehumanizing cruelties that go along with it) as a God-given right. Soon, Sarah and Handful have established a bond built on affection and guilt. Sarah breaks the law by secretly teaching Handful to read and write. When they are caught, Handful receives a lashing, while Sarah is banned from her father's library and all the books therein, her dream of becoming a lawyer dashed. As Sarah and Handful mature, their lives take separate courses. While Handful is physically imprisoned, she maintains her independent spirit, while Sarah has difficulty living her abstract values in her actual life. Eventually, she escapes to Philadelphia and becomes a Quaker, until the Quakers prove too conservative. As Sarah's activism gives her new freedom, Handful's life only becomes harder in the Grimk household. Through her mother, Handful gets to know Denmark Vesey, who dies as a martyr after attempting to organize a slave uprising. Sarah visits less and less often, but the bond between the two women continues until it is tested one last time. Kidd's portrait of white slave-owning Southerners is all the more harrowing for showing them as morally complicated, while she gives Handful the dignity of being not simply a victim, but a strong, imperfect woman.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Inspired by the true story of early-nineteenth-century abolitionist and suffragist Sarah Grimke, Kidd paints a moving portrait of two women inextricably linked by the horrors of slavery. Sarah, daughter of a wealthy South Carolina plantation owner, exhibits an independent spirit and strong belief in the equality of all. Thwarted from her dreams of becoming a lawyer, she struggles throughout life to find an outlet for her convictions. Handful, a slave in the Grimke household, displays a sharp intellect and brave, rebellious disposition. She maintains a compliant exterior, while planning for a brighter future. Told in first person, the chapters alternate between the two main characters' perspectives, as we follow their unlikely friendship (characterized by both respect and resentment) from childhood to middle age. While their pain and struggle cannot be equated, both women strive to be set free Sarah from the bonds of patriarchy and Southern bigotry, and Handful from the inhuman bonds of slavery. Kidd is a master storyteller, and, with smooth and graceful prose, she immerses the reader in the lives of these fascinating women as they navigate religion, family drama, slave revolts, and the abolitionist movement. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Beginning with her phenomenally successful debut, The Secret Life of Bees (2002), Kidd's novels have found an intense readership among library patrons, who will be eager to get their hands on her latest one.--Price, Kerri Copyright 2010 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

Unlikely alliances are a staple of fiction, and the unlikelier the better, from Huck and Jim floating down the Mississippi to Frodo and Gollum creeping toward Mordor - because the real drama lies in watching how dissimilar characters turn out to be brothers (or sisters) under the skin. Sue Monk Kidd followed this principle in her best-selling first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, in which a 14-year-old white girl and her family's black servant join in fleeing abuse in the South Carolina of the civil rights era. Kidd's latest novel, The Invention of Wings, also set largely in South Carolina, involves another unusual duo, in this case a slave and a daughter of the family that owns her. The story begins in Charleston in 1803 on the day 11-year-old Sarah Grimké is given Hetty, or "Handful," roughly her same age, as a birthday present. A born abolitionist whose earliest memory is of witnessing a slave being whipped (a trauma that¿s responsible for the stammer that still afflicts her), Sarah immediately tries to return Handful. When this attempt fails, she writes an official certificate of manumission, which is promptly torn in two. Although Handful has to serve as Sarah's personal maidservant, the girls share confidences and even an illicit picnic on the roof. Sarah also teaches Handful to read and write, an infraction that results in harsh penalties for both. To her credit, Kidd doesn't insist on a close friendship between these characters. They like each other, but uneasily, Sarah out of guilt and Handful because she knows she's listed on a household inventory right after the water trough, the wheelbarrow, the claw hammer and the bushel of flint corn. Instead, through alternating chapters narrated by Sarah and Handful, spanning 35 years, the novel juxtaposes their experiences of oppression. Plain but studious Sarah reads Voltaire, studies Latin with an older brother and dreams of becoming the first female jurist. But when she reveals this ambition to her father, a judge, he declares angrily that she's speaking "nonsense." Her mother later tells her that "every girl must have ambition knocked out of her for her own good" and forces her to start husband-hunting. Meanwhile, Handful's mother, Charlotte, a rebellious and talented seamstress, makes a "story quilt" detailing the history of their bondage, beginning with the kidnapping of Handful's "granny-mauma" in Africa, Early on, Charlotte is also hideously punished for stealing a bolt of cloth. Naturally, Handful distrusts all white people, even the painfully well-meaning Sarah, and soon turns rebellious herself. The truly harrowing moments in the book all belong to her and, inevitably, so does the larger share of the reader's sympathy. Yet, as the novel's title suggests, the desire for freedom inspires both heroines to defy their restrictions - one overtly, the other covertly. The first scene opens with Charlotte telling Handful that long ago "in Africa the people could fly." She then pats the child¿s shoulder blades, assuring her: "This all what left of your wings. They nothing but these flat bones now, but one day you gon get ¿em back." That Handful and Sarah both take flight by the end of the novel is not perhaps very surprising. What might be surprising, for some readers, is to learn that Sarah Grimké is a historical figure, an energetic abolitionist from a slaveholding Charleston family. After moving to Philadelphia and becoming a Quaker, she began speaking publicly against slavery and crusading for women's rights. With her sister, Angelina, and Angelina¿s husband, Theodore Weld, she wrote "American Slavery as It Is," a "testimony of a thousand witnesses" that influenced Harriet Beecher Stowe¿s novel "Uncle Tom¿s Cabin," published 13 years later. Although notorious in their own time ("arguably the most famous," according to Kidd, "as well as the most infamous women in America"), the Grimké sisters are less well known today. Kidd's intention, as she explains in an author's note, was to write not a "thinly fictionalized account" of Sarah Grimké's life, but rather a "thickly imagined story" based on extensive biographical material, including diaries, letters and newspaper accounts. Handful, however, is almost wholly imagined. A slave named Hetty was indeed presented to Sarah Grimké, but the actual Hetty died in childhood and nothing more is known about her. It's curious, therefore, that of the two narrators, Handful is the more believable. She certainly has the more vivid voice. "The smells in there would knock you down," she notes of the stalls at the Charleston market, and after a frightening moment reveals "my heart had been beat to butter." By contrast, Sarah is given to weighty pronouncements: "For all my resistance about slavery, I breathed that foul air, too." Both Handful and Sarah are admirable characters, though rather disappointingly so. Improbable allies are most engaging when they make life hard for each other and generally it takes them a while to find their common pulse. But Sarah empathizes so completely with Handful from the very beginning that we never get to doubt their innate sisterhood. While their identities as mistress and slave imply conflict, it's not a conflict played out between them. Handful's rich resentment is rarely directed at Sarah. How could it be? The actual Sarah Grimké may have been as earnest and honorable as she is here, but a little less righteousness might have furnished this story with a wider wingspan.


Library Journal Review

Kidd's (The Secret Life of Bees) latest is a remarkable work of historical fiction that relates the story of the wealthy Charleston, SC, Grimke sisters, Sarah and Angelina. Their house slave Hetty "Handful" Grimke inspires their efforts toward abolition and women's rights, and she ultimately becomes an integral part of them. The work is superbly read by Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye; the language wonderfully communicates the bond that evolves among these complex women as they travel through the political landscape and the social movements of this era. Be sure to listen to the last minutes of content as Kidd discusses her research and how it intertwines with the well-told fictional tale. -VERDICT An exceptional audiobook-this story is not to be missed. ["This richly imagined narrative brings both black history and women's history to life with an unsentimental story of women who became sisters under the skin," read the starred review of the Viking hc, LJ 11/1/13; see the Q&A with author Kidd on this page.]-Sandra C. Clariday, Tennessee Wesleyan Coll., Athens (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.