When I first began The Invention of Wings, I was captivated.
Reminiscent of Kathryn Stockett’s writing style in The Help, Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings introduces us to Sarah Grimke, a privileged white girl, and Handful, a slave. Set in Charleston, South Carolina, and spanning more than three decades in the 1800’s, The Invention of Wings gives insight into the pain and difficulty on both sides of slavery.
In a style that is both raw and tender, Sue Monk Kidd makes us privy to the everyday suffering that so many slaves endured, all while showing the confusion and metamorphosis of a woman who wants to change culture, yet feels helpless to do so.
Loosely based on the powerful true story of Sarah and Angelina Grimke, The Invention of Wings traces the story of two sisters who would leave their mark on American society, as forerunners of both the abolitionist and feminist movements.
While I thoroughly enjoyed The Invention of Wings, it does contain some foul language, and sex outside of marriage is discussed, with one character being known to have multiple “wives” across town.
While certainly an admirable woman, Sarah did, however embrace faulty ideologies. On page 20, Sarah asks why we should presume God’s perfection is based on having an unchanging nature. However, throughout Scripture we find that God never changes- He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, with no variation (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17, Numbers 23:19). And on page 276, we see Sarah desiring to become a Quaker minister following her leaving both the Anglican and Presbyterian churches. However, nowhere in Scripture do we see that God has allowed women to be leaders in the local church. While we know that in Christ there is equality between male and female, slave and free, there is, however, distinct roles men and women play in the local church (Galatians 3:26-28, 1 Timothy 2:12,Titus 1:5-9, 1 Timothy 3:1-7).
I would consider The Invention of Wings appropriate for readers fifteen and over. Overall, a fascinating and easy read, one that is sure to be a favorite of lovers of historical fiction! I would give The Invention of Wings a “B”.