The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

This great historical novel is the story of house slaves in Charleston, South Carolina, from 1803 to 1838.

An Unwanted Gift!    

The wealthy white Sarah Grimke on her 11th birthday, receives the gift of a slave girl.  The unwanted gift is ten-year-old “Handful”.    Her mama is the seamstress for many white people in the town and also the

Grimke family’s slave.   For the next 35 years these two girls grow up together and apart.  But always with the special bond of craving freedom.

Wings mean Freedom                                                     The ‘Invention of Wings’ is the story the slaves would tell of when they were free in Africa.  The black people then had wings and could fly because they were free.  As their restrictive lives wore then down in America, they lost their wings, but still they remembered their heritage.   Handful’s mama taught her to make the black triangles signifying the birds’ shapes in the many quilts they made.

Sarah’s mother is always the antagonist and Handful’s mama is the one we hope will make it against all the adversity around her.  The drama and pain is balanced by the tireless work of Sarah.   But there is always the tension of white against black.

Sarah (an actual  historical figure) is so against slavery and became a suffragette and abolitionist as she grew older.  “Wings” is definitely top of my list of favorites.  Review by Rosemary Petersen.


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