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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Wednesday 3rd June, The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd - chosen by He

364 pgs (Hardcover)
Published January 2014
Audiobook read by Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye  (Audible sample)
Setting - starts early 19th century Charleston, moving on to Philadelphia, also a little of Long Branch, New Jersey
Themes - Freedom, Slavery, Abolitionists, Quakers, Womens Rights
Recommended - Easy to read and flows well

What we Discussed:

  • A small group of 6 at our meeting today but still a lively discussion. The book was interesting and there was much to talk about.
  • We looked at the Sue Monk Kidd's bio and her writing.  A couple have read and enjoyed Sue Monk Kidd's Secret Life of Bees
  • Characters:  We discussed the role of the characters in the book, ....
* Sarah, Hetty, Charlotte, Sarah and Hetty. Charlotte and Hetty.

*  Sarah and her sister Angelina.

* Mrs Grimké, the relationship between Mrs Grimké and Sarah, also the slaves

* Judge Grimké, Sarah's father and Sarah's relationship with him

* Sarah and Thomas, Judge Grimke and Thomas

* Sarah Grimké's relationship with Israel Morris

* Other characters discussed included  Goodis, (Hetty and Goodis). Theodore Weld, Lucretia Mott, Denmark Vesey.

Not all of us realised that the book was based on the lives of real people.  We know little about American history and it was fascinating to find out about the lives of the two Grimké sisters who were such strong characters, given the quiet and passive role that the majority of women played in society all those years ago.

  • The bathtub scene with Hetty and Sarah
  • The story quilts of Harriet Powers, the author's inspiration for Charlotte's quilt
  • The Spirit tree

The author's notes at the end of the book are extremely interesting and useful.  She also explains the Title of the book.  The original idea for  "wings" came from African folklore where people in Africa were able to fly and then their wings were lost once they were captured as slaves. Wings could be seen as a symbol for freedom ....  with The Invention of Wings standing for how the characters try to find their own freedom, ... freedom from slavery, freedom as women fighting for their rights and more.

Left, Sarah Grimké Right, Angelina Grimké (Taken from NY Times article by Felicia R Lee - see below)

Judge Grimké  (Wikipedia) 


Sue Monk Kidd - website

Lit Lovers Summary Guide

Oprah talks to Sue Monk Kidd

NY Times article by Felicia R Lee

New York Times book review by Suzanne Berne

The Invention of Wings Tour   (lovely pictures of book locations thanks to American Girls Art Club in Paris blog)

The Original Grimké Sisters Tour website

The Quilts of Harriet Powers

Judge Grimke on Wikipedia

Thomas Grimke on Wikipedia

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