The Invention of Wings
I came to read this amazingly well-written book in the last few days and I want you to know that I was overwhelmed! I totally recommend it to you and trust me you won’t be disappointed.
The first thing that I think makes the book so amazing, is the way the story of two girls with a completely different background, is presented. Well, you have to consider that the story is set in the 19th century, so that’s the second thing that I think is so well described. I perfectly could imagine and understand how the people lived back then, it was like travelling back in the past. Apparently, this book is written in the view of two girls so the book has two main characters. Another aspect I want to mention, that I found very appealing, is that throughout the book the whole life story of these two girls is described. It feels like you can almost watch them grow up from a young age on.
The first main character is called Sarah Grimké. She is the daughter of a rich lawyer, who like all the richer people in these times, owns several slaves. At the beginning, when Sarah is still about the age of about ten years, she is a very stubborn girl who has her own thoughts and ideas. She questions everything takes nothing at face value. Throughout the book, as she grows up, she gets more and more like society wants her to be. She accepts the things as they are. Since she was told that she can’t do something against the things she doesn’t agree with anyways, and certainly not as a women. However, this little spark of rebellion in her, that fights for justice and thinks different than all the others, this spark never dies. Although she appreciates the comforts of her life, she doesn’t understand why there exists something like slavery. Every day she watches slaves being treated so horribly, she asks herself again, who gives some people the right to beat others up like that?
The second main character’s name is Hetty Grimké or Handful. She tells the story from the opposite position, since she is a slave at the household of the Grimké family. Hetty has about the same age of Sarah and due was given to Sarah as a birthday gift at her eleventh birthday. As you can imagine Sarah isn’t pleased at all about this present but the least she can do for Hetty is being kind to her. Thanks to Sarah’s kindness Hetty leads a much better life than the other slaves. They get friends very quickly, nevertheless Hetty always feels the difference between them. She will always be chained to her slave life. When she grows older she realizes that Sarah is in a way as well chained to a life she doesn’t quite like.
The book is so interesting to read because of the great contrast of their lives. They grow up together as friends but the fact that one of them is a slave makes their friendship pretty complicated. Sarah’s dream is to free Hetty but in her society, this is unthinkable. So, although they have completely different problems they have one thing they share: Their ambition to achieve something, the thought of never giving up and as said before, the chains to a life that neither of them like.
I liked the way Sarah confronts her family with a thought that doesn’t fit at all in their picture of a perfect life. We now consider it as normal and still fight for it: The equality of blacks and whites as well as women and men. As you can imagine her family isn’t that happy about her intelligence or as they like to describe it, silliness. The other thing I loved is that although Hetty has such a miserable life, she never gives up the thought of getting free.
You have to read this book if you like novels about strong women!