Customer Reviews for

The Invention of Wings

Average Rating 4
( 534 )
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(303)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

44 out of 55 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

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Most Helpful Critical Review

45 out of 52 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

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2014

    I have not read this book yet, but plan to. I am writing today

    I have not read this book yet, but plan to. I am writing today asking for B&N to read "reviews" before they are put on the site. There are so many entries that have nothing to do with the book it is hard to believe the ratings. Think about where you are writing before hit send. If there really is a Damon out there, do you really think this is the right forum for your problems?

    4 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2014

    Woud like to know why, if I prefer to read a book without Oprah'

    Woud like to know why, if I prefer to read a book without Oprah's intrusive comments, I have to pay more.Seriously, the non-annotated edition is more expensive. What an ego! Oprah, keep your comments to yourself and let me rad in peace. I actually have my own thoughts.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2014

    Loved the story, disliked Oprah's footnotes.  I think the story

    Loved the story, disliked Oprah's footnotes.  I think the story would have been better told without the constant blue interuptions.  

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2014

    Notes are distracting!

    I wish I had realized this was not the original format. Sections are highlighted in blue throughout the book and distracts from the flow of reading. Also impossible to read if viewing with "night" text, which is when I do most of my reading. Waste of $12.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2014

    Not her best

    While this book was interesting, the story was predictable and I didn't think it really stood up to the standard of Monk Kidd's previous work. Check it out of your local library instead of buying it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This Book was Sooo Built Up and  I Expected a Great Novel.....We

    This Book was Sooo Built Up and  I Expected a Great Novel.....Well, it was Way Less then expected!!

    3 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2014

    Incredible....

    This is a must read!!!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2014

    AMAZING

    I am a big fan of Sue Monk Kidds previous books, and this book exceeds the others. I started this book on Friday night and finished on Sunday, I could not put it down. I will purchase this book, and put it onto my bookshelf of favorite books ( I read it on my Nook). Read this book, it is one of those books that stay with you, makes you feel and think.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2014

    Great read! Her best yet!

    Enjoyed the book. It produced an interesting discussion for club. Did not find Ms. Oprah's comments helpful nor interesting....

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2014

    The Invention of Wings is the third novel by bestselling America

    The Invention of Wings is the third novel by bestselling American author, Sue Monk Kidd. In it, Kidd takes the bare facts surrounding Charleston’s famous (and infamous) 19th century abolitionist/emancipist sisters, Sarah and Angelina Grimke, and, as she puts it, grafts fiction onto truth to weave a fascinating and inspirational account of early abolitionism in America. Kidd employs two narrators: Sarah Grimke, and the slave she is given by her mother (and attempts to free) on her eleventh birthday, Hetty Handful Grimke. From this starting point, the contrast in their lives as they grow up is starkly illustrated. Even at the tender age of eleven, Sarah knew slavery was wrong, but it was years later before she “…saw then what I hadn’t seen before, that I was very good at despising slavery in the abstract, in the removed and anonymous masses, but in the concrete, intimate flesh of the girl beside me, I’d lost the ability to be repulsed by it. I’d grown comfortable with the particulars of evil. There’s a frightful muteness that dwells at the center of all unspeakable things, and I had found my way into it.” Handful’s narration consistently brings things into perspective: “White folks think you care about everything in the world that happens to them, every time they stub their toe.” Kidd populates her novel with character both real and fictitious: Denmark Vesey, charismatic and seditious; Charlotte, loving and determined; Mary, cruel and unpredictable. Sewing and quilts, the spirit tree, stuttering, blackbirds and Quakers all have their part to play. Through all that life throws at them, the women somehow remain friends. Handful often has a perceptive take on the situation: “She was trapped same as me, but she was trapped by her mind, by the minds of people around her, not by the law……I tried to tell her that. I said, ‘my body might be a slave, but not my mind. For you, it’s the other way round.’” and “This ain’t the same Sarah who left here. She had a firm look in her eye and her voice didn’t dither and hesitate like it used to. She’d been boiled down to a good, strong broth.” Kidd treats the reader to some marvellously descriptive prose: “Mother’s letter in response arrived in September. Her small, tight scrawl was thick with fury and ink.” and “It was the time of year when migrating crows wheeled across the sky, thunderous flocks that moved like a single veil, and I heard them, out there in the wild chirruping air. Turning to the window, I watched the birds fill the sky before disappearing, and when the air was still again, I watched the empty place where they had been” are just two examples. A powerful and moving novel.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2014

    One of the best books since "The Help"

    I honestly enjoyed this book. It was written with a pen wrapped around history and given a breath of its own. I often struggle with historical novels because I tend to stop and research the charactersto see if there is any validity in them. This bookhad quite a few threads spooling off from truth but sincerely was a solid 386 page read. The characters were strong. The writing was fluid. I read novels of this length normally in two days; this one took seven hours because I couldn't put it down. The author completely draws you in and makes you feel a part of the story. Well done!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2014

    Highly recommend!

    This book addresses the interesting fact that although black women in the 1800's were slaves, more often than not, white women were prisoners. Women of either color were not permitted to study or learn a profession.
    The book follows the lives of two such women, a young white girl who is gifted a slave of similar age on her 11th birthday. While the idea of such a gift repulses her, she is not allowed to give her slave her freedom. Her "gift" longs for her own freedom, born as she is from a mother who took her own freedom, without letting her daughter know, or taking her with her.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2014

    I loved this book

    I was apprehensive about reading this book at first because I thought it was too much about slavery and really didn't want to read about all the horrible things that happened during that time. However, after reading the reviews and of course Oprah's endorsement, I got it on The Nook. I really liked this book. In fact, I am still wishing that I could visit or take a peek at their lives. I've already finished, "The Middle Place" (which was good) and am still thinking about the characters in The Invention of Wings. There is some bad things that happen, but its not graphic enough to make put it down. I live in the south and understand how bad it was for the slaves. It's hard to comprehend that there was ever a time that this stuff was legal. However being raised in Louisiana, and having parents in their late 70's, I was raised around some of the old ways that don't escape the older people just because times change. Usually you hear the worst of slavery, but this story is about a girl slave and her thoughts and at the same time about a white upper crust girl who doesn't believe in slavery and she is in her own kind of prison/slavery with her unconvensional ideas. Its just a nice story about these girls growing up together and apart. I was missing the characters as soon as I closed my Nook. I agree with some of the other reviews talking about how they did not like the underlined blue parts that were Oprah's notes. I never read her notes and it frustrated me when I would try and turn the page and it would direct me to the notes. I had to figure out how to get back to my page.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2014

    A phenomenal venture into historical fiction, Sue Monk Kidd¿s ¿T

    A phenomenal venture into historical fiction, Sue Monk Kidd’s “The Invention of Wings” explores crucial issues of the nineteenth century through two fundamental characters. Hetty “Handful” Grimke was born into slavery and serves the affluent Grimke family in Charleston. Her mauma, Charlotte, has inculcated into her a bitter hatred of the peculiar institution and herself does all she can to subvert her condition in whatever ways she can despite the consequences. She teaches Handful the story of her African grandmother and the folk tale that when they give their spirits to a tree, their spirits learn to fly along with the birds. As the narrative opens, ten-year-old Handful is given as an eleventh birthday present to Sarah Grimke, and this exchange has a lifelong impact on both girls. Sarah began stuttering after witnessing brutality toward one of the family slaves, but she has great determination and revolutionary ideas. Not content to live docilely and perpetuate the system of slavery, she yearns to satisfy her insatiable thirst for knowledge and make a positive impact on her world. However, such ambitions are seemingly ahead of their time, and she meets fierce opposition from society and from her own family. When she becomes godmother to her youngest sister, Angelina, her life and purpose change, and she embarks on a personal journey that will literally change the course of history.

    “The Invention of Wings” is a seamless tapestry of two early-nineteenth-century women who dare to challenge the societal standards into which they are respectively born. Drawing on historical figures such as Denmark Vesey, Lucretia Mott, William Lloyd Garrison, and Sarah Grimke herself, Sue Monk Kidd creates a heartbreaking and breathtakingly realistic story. With alternating short chapters and sections that span from 1803 to 1838, the first-person narrative voice shifts between Handful and Sarah as the causes within the narrative correspondingly alter to eventually encompass both abolition and women’s suffrage. The subject matter is, more often than not, melancholy and even morose due to its adherence to situational reality, but nevertheless there remains a whisper of hope and possibility throughout. This incredible work of historical fiction does not shy away from the harsh and sometimes graphic incidents typical of the time period, forcing the reader to engage in the story, but in so doing, the themes of equality, love, and perseverance resonate long after the narrative ends.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2014

    Sue Monk Kidd is a fantastic author. Because I thoroughly enjoy

    Sue Monk Kidd is a fantastic author. Because I thoroughly enjoyed "The Secret Life of Bees" and "The Mermaid Chair," I could not wait to read "The Invention of Wings." The author tells a story that is so easy to understand, you live the stories as if you were one of the characters in the book. "The Invention of Wings" was an excellent read and a book that I could not put down. The story revolves around plantation owners as well as their slaves. Sarah is the daughter of a plantation owner. For her eleventh birthday she is given a young slave girl by the name of Hetty as her own personal handmaid. The girls grow up together living two totally separate lives and the story is based around the families of each girl. It is interesting seeing the story unfold from the plantation owners sides of the story and how hard life was back in the 1800's. The story will also break your heart once you read about life from the slavery side. Sarah spends her entire life trying to abolish slavery and the story is told around both of these girls growing up into adulthood. This is a GREAT BOOK that the reader will be unable to put down until the end. As usual, Sue Monk Kidd writes a great novel that is recommended through Oprah's book club. This book is told similar to "The Kitchen House" and should be recommended as a history book that should be read by everyone. It is truly an eye opener for history that everyone should read. Great job, Sue Monk Kidd, with a GREAT NOVEL....!! Hanover, VA

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 14, 2014

    Although I loved The Secret Life of Bees, Kidd's other books w

    Although I loved The Secret Life of Bees, Kidd's other books were disappointing. She seems to have recaptured her story-telling prowess with The Invention of Wings. The last 50 pages dragged a bit, but overall the story line and characters kept my interest and broke my heart..

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2015

    Excellent read! Her meticulous research is quite evident and gui

    Excellent read! Her meticulous research is quite evident and guides the artful development of characters you can't help but identify with and love.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2014

    I just finished the book- Wonderful read. As a history teacher I

    I just finished the book- Wonderful read. As a history teacher I will recommend this book to my students to read.
    Very accurate and truly a topic about women in history that goes untold.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 22, 2014

    Can we get this book WITHOUT Oprah's thoughts? I really do not

    Can we get this book WITHOUT Oprah's thoughts? I really do not care what she thinks.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2014

    Highly Recommended

    I love novels that are written in a historical setting. This novel covered years before the civil war in South Carolina and the relationship of two women-one a slave and the other, a reluctant slave owner. The author leaves the ending open-ended and I found myself wanting continuation of the story. This would be a good book club read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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