Not long ago, I read The Kitchen House. It was a well-written book but a story without hope. You could feel the suffocating sadness from the beginning. The Invention of Wings is similar but with more hope.
Sue Monk Kidd tells the story of a young white girl named Sarah and Handful, the slave she is gifted on her eleventh birthday. Sarah is not your typical child. She is defiant and has thoughts and opinions of her own. However, she lacks the resolve to stand up for what she believes. Kidd weaves a tale of a young girl learning to stand up for what’s right and a slave who is just trying to find her way. Over 35 years, we watch Sarah fight her lack of confidence as she tries desperately to find a way to release Handful from her position. All the while, Handful watches her mother teach her how to make a point to their white owners, from stealing green satin to faking a leg injury. Handful is a huge part of bringing Sarah out of her quiet world and showing her what’s really going on in Charleston, South Carolina.
Sue Monk Kidd, who also wrote The Secret Life of Bees, does not disappoint. Her intricate writing style builds this story into a soon to be classic. Analyzing the relationship between a slave and her owner, Kidd touches on subjects that are still happening today.