The Invention of Wings


Kidd, Sue Monk. The Invention of Wings. New York:  Viking Adult, 2014.  978- 0670024780. 384p. $27.95. Gr. 7-12.

Sue Monk Kidd takes a unique look at the real lives of feminist sisters, Sarah and Angelina Gremke, who grew up to become leading feminists and abolitionists from Charleston, South Carolina, in the early 1800s. The true story starts out when Sarah, at age 11, is given, by her parents, her very own slave named Hettie, a 10 year old girl.  Sarah is appalled and wants to give her back thinking that she cannot own another human being even though it is all she has ever known in her wealthy family. Soon Sarah teaches Hettie to read which is forbidden by law. Both girls are punished, but in the true story Hettie dies after her beating.  Kidd reimagines Hettie’s life, through the character of Handful, if she had lived.

In this novel, Kidd continues the story of Handful and Sarah for the next 35 years and uses the alternating voices of Sarah and Handful to tell the story of two girls who see humanity at its worst and work towards a different and better world. This memorable book written for adults is perfect for young adults as it shows the brutal depiction of the time period and the strong personalities of both women who refuse to give into the social conventions of their time. This novel is a perfect choice for high school libraries.

 Historical Fiction              Marian Kohan, Erie School District

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