Customer Reviews for

The Invention of Wings: A Novel

Average Rating 4
( 470 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(265)

4 Star

(116)

3 Star

(33)

2 Star

(25)

1 Star

(31)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

43 out of 54 people found this review helpful.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair a

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review – but OMG was I excited when I did receive it because it’s an Oprah’s Book pick and I read alllll of her choices!

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd is the kind of book that makes you...
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review – but OMG was I excited when I did receive it because it’s an Oprah’s Book pick and I read alllll of her choices!

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd is the kind of book that makes you want to be a better person.

The newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 pick is incredibly moving. The story is told in dual narrative, following Sarah Grimke and a slave named Hetty “Handful” Grimke in the 1800s.

Sarah is given Hetty as a gift for her eleventh birthday, and even at that young age, Sarah believes that slavery is immoral. But Sarah is caught in the Charleston upper class lifestyle and is useless in making a change. So she rebels the way she can, giving Hetty the freedom of literacy.
Sarah evolves, trying to turn into someone she wants to be: a strong, independent woman, but her dreams are pushed down by everyone, including her family.

Only when Sarah leaves the comforts of the South does she truly begin to understand the power that individual voices can have.

At the same time, Hetty changes from young, rebellious slave girl to becoming a strong, still rebellious, woman.

Both Sarah and Hetty’s stories are mesmerizing. Hetty is such a strong, spunky character who was so much like her mother: unwilling to bow down to every need and want from the master/missus.

And then Sarah went fully against her own culture and society in order to fight for what she believed in – equality of all people, no matter the sex or race.

Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings is a book that makes me want to get out there and make a difference, to take a stand for a cause I truly believe it.

The Invention of Wings is inspirational. So pick up this novel and get a little inspired yourself.

What cause do you think is necessary to fight for?

Thanks for reading, 

Rebecca @ Love at First Book

posted by RebeccaScaglione on January 7, 2014

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

42 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

I find the "highlighted by Oprah" text to be very dist

I find the "highlighted by Oprah" text to be very distracting to the reading of this book.  I would not have purchased it if I had understood that all the highlighted text would hinder my reading and enjoyment of this book.  Won't purchase books with this &quo...
I find the "highlighted by Oprah" text to be very distracting to the reading of this book.  I would not have purchased it if I had understood that all the highlighted text would hinder my reading and enjoyment of this book.  Won't purchase books with this "feature" again.  How do I get a copy without the distracting highlighting?

posted by CallyB1 on January 19, 2014

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 41 – 60 of 470 Customer Reviews
Page 3 of 24
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2014

    ugh

    couldn't get past page 30

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2014

    Why, oh why must we be forced to know Oprahs thoughts on this? I

    Why, oh why must we be forced to know Oprahs thoughts on this? I am actually a fan of Ms. Winfrey however
     I am a thoughtful person and  having a brain of my own, do not need someone elses insights-unasked. Please, please, please,
    publish no more books in this format. Hatefully distracting

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 30, 2014

    This is an excellent novel. I love the writing style of Sue Monk

    This is an excellent novel. I love the writing style of Sue Monk Kidd and the way that she explored the emotions of each of the main characters. When the novel ended she left me wanting more. A real page turner and must read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 29, 2014

    Thoroughly Enjoyed This

    I loved Kidd's re-creation of time and place and the different perspectives she examines. Would highly recommend.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2014

    Good read

    Good read,it kept me interested and i loved handful's character but at the same time i really came to dislike Sarah through most of the book -As strong as Handful is Sarah is weak-

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 27, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This book is a work of Historical Fiction. I recently saw a movi

    This book is a work of Historical Fiction. I recently saw a movie (“The 100 Foot Journey”) as I was watching it, I thought it was based upon a true story. There were points were I was unconvinced at the absurdity of the plot, thinking, “there is no way THAT would have happened.” When I learned the movie was based upon a work of fiction, the entire movie changed for me, I went from feeling “it was a waste of my time,” to, “that was a great story, well done!” The reverse was true in my reading this book. I was disappointed by the: (perceived) manipulative plot twists Ms. Monk had inserted throughout the book, the horrors inflicted by “kind hearted slave owners,” and the overly dramatic depiction of the gap between the “haves” and the “have not's” of the pre-Civil War South. Once I learned Ms. Monk based this book after the lives of two historical Charleston, S.C., women, the book I just finished and was “disappointed in,” became an entirely different experience for me.
    On her Eleventh birthday, Sarah Grimké’s parents gave her a gift – her own personal slave, Hetty Handful Grimké. For the next 35 years both women sought to understand what it their relationship meant for them in a culture whose expectations were well established, ironclad and above question in “polite” society. At the age of 4, Sarah witnessed the “disciplining” of a female slave, an event that would cause her to find more effective ways of speaking than using her verbal skills. Handful (the name given by her family) lived the brutality Sarah witnessed but could not imagine. The friendship they develop is as tenuous as could be expected from beings who originate from different solar systems. 
    Sarah seeks to do the justice she has been taught by her father until her actually taking action reveals the gap between oration and demonstration. Her efforts in this regard are empowered when her younger sister, Angelina (“Nina”), joins in the effort. Together, they challenge the evil that has made their family rich for generations. In so doing, the crucible they endure changes everything about them – Sarah becomes bold, devout, and adventurous; Nina learns tact, persuasion, direction. Outwardly, Handful spent those years in service to her owners, in reality, she was learning her family history, developing the talent of a seamstress and helping her mother cause as much grief for her slave masters as she could without being killed.
    The story is told in the voices of Handful and Sarah, as they alternate narrating chapters. There is brutal violence depicted in this story, slavery is portrayed as “expected” and those who challenge it are criminalized, excommunicated from their church, alienated from family and friends. The ending is fittingly hopeful and brings about closure. 
    While this book is not as stunning as was The Secret Life of Bees, Ms. Monk continues to give voice to the oppressed and marginalized. She uses the women to personify those who cannot speak for themselves. She holds the Church accountable for its lack of courage in standing up to evil, not speaking truth and contributing to the pain of injustice those who suffer by blessing the powerful in their delusion that position is a matter of Divine designation. Well done, Ms. Monk.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2014

    Ok book

    I really like this book the best out of the ones i like to read

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 11, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Holy schnikes. When it's the early 1800's, and your prominent,

    Holy schnikes.

    When it's the early 1800's, and your prominent, Charleston family owns slaves,
    and you're the middle and youngest daughters in a group of ten children, and
    slavery horrifies you, what are your options?

    This fictionalized look at the lives of historical women, Sarah and Angelina
    (Nina) Grimke, and Sarah's "birthday gift," Hetty (Handful), a fictional character
    is a powerful and evocative read. Told in alternate POV by Sarah and Handful,
    and over a considerable span of years, it's a look at motherhood - unloving, by
    Sarah's mother Mary, and devoted, close, but always in jeopardy, by Handful's
    mother Charlotte, whom she calls Mauma. Since slaves aren't permitted to
    read or write, Charlotte makes a quilt to tell the story of her life. It's about the
    not-quite friendship between the two girls, and how, as women, both Handful
    and Sarah find themselves enslaved, in different ways.

    Sarah would become one of the most prominent abolitionists and advocates
    for women's rights, as would Nina. While there's not gratuitous violence, there
    are some passages that will horrify the reader. There are also passages
    lyrical with African-American folktales, and the hope that Handful will be able,
    in the end, to fly.

    This book is going to stay with me for a long time.Note: While I read the e-version
    with Oprah's notes, I did not HAVE to read them until the end, and that's what I
    chose to do, along with the author's notes about what was historical, and what
    was fictional. Did not find Oprah's notes to be intrusive, but an interesting read
    after I finished.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2014

    Great book!  I would recommend this book to my friends.  I enjoy

    Great book!  I would recommend this book to my friends.  I enjoyed reading it from the start.  

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2014

    Love, Love, Love, this book! A must-read! I did not want it to

    Love, Love, Love, this book! A must-read! I did not want it to end!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 7, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This is one of those books that are just so good that they are h

    This is one of those books that are just so good that they are hard to explain. It is a fictionalized account of the life of Sarah Grimke.

    There are two alternating viewpoints throughout the book. Sarah Grimke, daughter of a Charleston judge, grows up before our eyes in the slave-holding South. She is horrified by the "peculiar institution" of slavery from a very early age, but it is only when she flies from Charleston to the North that she is able to put that abhorrence to use as an abolitionist. She is also left powerless by the mere fact of her gender, and her efforts for women's equality are almost more scandalous than her abolition work. Her younger sister, Angelina, also gets caught up in the fight and eventually joins Sarah in her efforts.

    The other perspective is from the viewpoint of Hettie (Handful), a slave that is given to Sarah on her 11th birthday. We see the stark contract between the lives of the slaves and their masters, and how even the intended kindness of Sarah and Nina often result in hardship and heartache. Through Handful, we experience horror and loss of a different kind, and even get caught up in Denmark Vesey's planned slave insurrection. Handful and her mother dream of flying away, but those dreams seem impossible.

    Despite their vastly different circumstances, Sarah and Handful forge a powerful friendship that ultimately transcends human laws. The most brilliant part of this novel, I think, is when Handful acknowledges that in a way, Sarah is as much a slave as she is. The only difference is that Handful is physically enslaved, while Sarah is mentally enslaved. It is that revelation more than anything else, I think, that really spurs Sarah into action and results in both women inventing their own wings to fly away to a better place.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 25, 2014

    I absolutely loved this book.  I picked it up because of The Sec

    I absolutely loved this book.  I picked it up because of The Secret Life of Bees.  I took it on a road trip and my husband drove.  I couldn't put it down.  Another reader said it makes you want to be a better person, I agree.  It makes you really think about the people around you and your affect on their lives.  My 14 year old asked to read it once I finished as she had studied the sisters in school.  

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2014

    Highly recommended

    Great characters with interesting parallel stories.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2014

    Very well done

    I very much enjoyed this book and the two perspectives it was written from

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2014

    ? E

    e lcqefbjt

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 9, 2014

    2 1/2 Stars - Well-written but formulaic!

    An enjoyable enough book - nicely written, etc. It was just such a "pat" story I was surprised Sue Monk Kid wrote it. I have loved other books by this author and was surprised and not too pleased with this latest effort.

    The Mormon segment of the book brought the efforts of that segment of the population into the slave story, which was good. It just didn't have the depth I am used to in Kidd's books.

    I don't have a negative on this book, just a sort of vague dissatisfaction with the finished product. I will read others she writes though, in hopes she returns to her usual high standards.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 5, 2014

    This was an exceptional book.  It was well researched and grabbe

    This was an exceptional book.  It was well researched and grabbed me from start to finish.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2014

    I so enjoyed "The Secret Life of Bees" and loved the &

    I so enjoyed "The Secret Life of Bees" and loved the "Invention of Wings" even more.  Sue Monk Kidd does a fantastic job in creating such real characters facing moral choices set in a real-life time period.  The ladies in her stories are strong and intelligent.   This story took place in Charleston pre-civil war and follows both sides of the story - the slaves and their unbelievably hard and demeaning lives next to the aristocratic owners and their beliefs ranging from following their family's traditions to railing against the inhumane treatments they witness.  Our heroine, Sarah, goes against her family's plantation-owner traditions but pays a penalty for her beliefs.  I especially enjoyed the author's final notes telling us how she came to write the story and how much of it is based in history.  Now I'm interested in learning more about these sisters who faced adversity while making their moral choices.  The book was not only enlightening, it was a joy to read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2014

    I just finished reading The invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

    I just finished reading The invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd and I liked it very much. Much of what African-Americans had to endure during slavery was horrific. And, reading about how some the slaves were treated was horrendous. Sarah Grimke, who became an abolishinist in the story fought to end slavery with her sister Nina who were the real heroines of the book as well as Handful, the house slave, who also fought for her freedom. This impressive novel should be made into a movie like, Ms. Kidd's other novel, The Secret Life Of Bees.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2014

    Way over-rated.  I think she's riding on Oprah's coat-tails.  Th

    Way over-rated.  I think she's riding on Oprah's coat-tails.  The characters are one-dimensional, poorly developed.  Ms. Kidd tells rather than shows.  The book has no "suspense" to drive the reader forward in reading. Save your money and buy something else.    

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 41 – 60 of 470 Customer Reviews
Page 3 of 24