Monday 7 April 2014

Book Review: The Invention Of Wings; Sue Monk Kidd

Okay, so I finally finished this book and my goodness. I cannot wait to tell you how much I loved it! It was a win from a giveaway hosted by Bibliobrat and I would like to give her many thanks for allowing me the chance to read this because it was fantastic! I'm not entering this one into any challenges (other than the obvious Bookish Bingo, but that's for a later post).

SOURCE: Blog Giveaway Win
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Invention Of Wings
AUTHOR: Sue Monk Kidd
PUBLISHER: Tinder Press
PAGES: 384
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Adult, Literary Fiction

RATING: 5/5 Stars

Note: The Kindle edition that I read had no blurb so I have taken the description off of Goodreads.

Sarah Grimké is the middle daughter. The one her mother calls difficult and her father calls remarkable. On Sarah's eleventh birthday, Hetty 'Handful' Grimké is taken from the slave quarters she shares with her mother, wrapped in lavender ribbons, and presented to Sarah as a gift. Sarah knows what she does next will unleash a world of trouble. She also knows she cannot accept. And so, indeed, the trouble begins...

What I Liked:
  • So this is going to be long. Let's start with the detail, as anyone who has read my reviews knows I crave contextual depth above most things. This story is based on the true events of the Grimké sisters, Sarah and Angelina Grimké. Having done a bit of research, Kidd really knows her stuff. Most of the things written in this book did actually happen, and she takes care to explain those that she added or exaggerated a little for dramatic effect which I loved! Her knowledge about how both the slaves and the privileged would have lived, Charleston as a setting, the punishments and the historical significance of this story just added to the emotional punch and horrifying insight into a time that I have never lived (nor would I want to after reading this). Wow!
  • The characters. Every one. They were just so...human. There was nothing one-dimensional found in any of the people in this book. They all had faults and they all had likeable traits that attempted to redeem some of their crueler aspects. Every time I thought I had judged a character, how they would react to a given situation, I was mostly surprised. I loved this! It gave them a whole new depth that is rarely found in books anymore! Kidd made sure they all had feeling, motive and reasons for their actions and for that, I thank her.
  • The story-line. It spanned over a vast number of years, from childhood to adulthood and I was gripped the entire way through! I really did not want to put this book down, and if I could, I would have just read it non-stop with no interruptions. Whenever I picked it back up again I was immediately hooked, it didn't even take me a second of settling back into the story. I love it when a book does that! Also, I loved the divide between Handful and Sarah's POV. Kidd gives them both balanced footing, promoting equality in every aspect of her writing. Both of their stories are important. She handles the subject matter so sensitively too and I can honestly say that on the topic of racism and oppression, it is the best and most thoughtful novel I have read.
What I Disliked:
  • Now this was hard, and I realised about three quarters of the way through the book that I might not have anything to say here! But having read the whole thing, I do. The end. It was very...blunt. There was no easing out of the story, just bam! And the book was done. I honestly thought I'd missed a page or something it was that sudden! But once I'd got over the shock of it, I realised there might not have actually been a 'perfect' time to end the book. Yes, you are left wondering if they actually do what they need to do, but it's  all there in history ready to be researched. I don't think there would be a suitable point to stop. I just wish that Kidd's beautifully written adaption didn't have to end. Especially in such an abrupt way!
Overall Conclusion:
I think you can pretty much guess what I'm going to write here. I'm so overcome by how much I adored this book and how beautifully Kidd broaches the sensitive issues of slavery, oppression, and racism that I am actually a little upset that it's over. I don't want to stop reading about Handful and her determined efforts to protect her family and fight for her right to be human. Nor do I want to stop reading about Sarah and her sister, Angelina and their struggles to fight for people like Handful, alongside the battle to have their own voices heard and taken seriously above the more powerful men of the world. It was wonderfully written, gorgeously detailed and everyone should read it as soon as possible. 

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