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The Invention of Wings
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Group Reads: Post-1980 > The Invention of Wings: First thoughts, September 2014

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message 1: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Here's the spot for beginning discussion of The Invention of Wings. No spoilers, please. If you do use spoilers, please hide them, allowing other members to choose to read them or not.


Connie G (connie_g) | 429 comments I read the book two weeks ago when my hold at the library came through, and highly recommend it. I'll put most of my comments in the "final thoughts about the book" section. It had strong, engaging characters who were involved in the abolitionist cause and women's rights.


Cher (cher_n_books) | 10 comments Good to hear, Connie! Looking forward to this one.


message 4: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3968 comments Mod
I hope everyone can make time to read this one, if not now, maybe later. Fantastic story, great characters, inspired writing, important issues, and most of it is true.


Diane S ☔ I read this when it first came out and was surpris3d that I had n3ver heard of these sisters before. I too liked it very much.


Leah McGowan I love American historical fiction, so this book was right up my alley. Reminded me a lot of The Kitchen House, but not quite as captivating. I gave it four stars!


message 7: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
My wife and I are traveling to Wilmington, NC, this week to visit with MJ's 95 year old mother, Zola Mae, an incredible woman, who grew up on a Texas ranch during the days of the great depression. As we are on the road, I've resorted to an audio copy of this book. While I once steered clear of them, I find them ideal for travel. The narrative voices in this recording are absolutely phenomenal. Perhaps I have just been missing out. However, I'll be giving these a try more often. My break in to audible books was Of Mice and Men read by Gary Sinise who starred in the latest version of the film as George. Sinise captures all the voices of the characters. I just wish they could have persuaded John Malkovich to portray Lenny. AND, while, I'm slightly off topic, To Kill a Mockingbird is available, read by Sissy Spacek. I have "read" the sample of The Invention of Wings. This recording contains multiple readers. An incredible reading experience allowing time for good note taking.


message 8: by Cher (last edited Aug 10, 2014 05:54AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cher (cher_n_books) | 10 comments I'm about 10% in so far and enjoying it. I love that with the alternating perspectives, the narrators have different "voices". I hate it when an author uses multiple character viewpoints, but each character thinks the same way, has the same sense of humor, etc.

Mike, I had heard that the audio version of this one was great but the wait was too long at my library. I love audio books, especially for long road trips or flights, but also to listen to when doing mindless chores around the house. They help me sneak in an extra book or two per month. Safe travels!


message 9: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Weil | 168 comments Mike wrote: "My wife and I are traveling to Wilmington, NC, this week to visit with MJ's 95 year old mother, Zola Mae, an incredible woman, who grew up on a Texas ranch during the days of the great depression. ..."

My husband and I couldn't travel without books to listen to. Our big intro to audible books was a truly excellent version of The Poisonwood Bible. I think that with a gifted narrator, hearing a book can often open it up in a way that might not have been possible on first reading.


message 10: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Weil | 168 comments Cher wrote: "I'm about 10% in so far and enjoying it. I love that with the alternating perspectives, the narrators have different "voices". I hate it when an author uses multiple character viewpoints, but each ..."

I think I'm close to a third into the book--just at the point where I no longer want to put it down. Monk Kidd (I guess she uses both names) is a superb storyteller and greatly imaginative writer. I find, oddly, that I miss the stylistics of Wolfe and Agee. Yet, in reading them, I missed the element of plot, which is so compelling in Wings. I look forward to hearing other people's responses.


message 11: by Skipper (new)

Skipper Hammond (skipperhammond) | 13 comments I'm a nasty old curmudgeon, but Invention of Wings brought me to tears, so inspiring. Yes, I realize these are fictional accounts, but Monk Kidd created living, courageous women from the dusty historical documents available. I remembered the name, Grimke Sisters, from women's studies, but text books could never capture their spirit as Monk Kidd's fictional imagination has.
The narration, too, was excellent. I began listening to audio books a couple of months ago but had restricted myself to light comedy and mystery, easy to follow and not distracting in traffic. Wings narrators' enunciation was so crystal clear, as well as engaging, that I didn't miss one word--or even a stop sign.


message 12: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Weil | 168 comments I'm impressed with MK's use of dialogue, especially touching and natural between Hetty and Charlotte--as well as her use of dialect. She is masterful at making it real. My heart is frankly hurting for this fictional character, Hetty. We know that there were in actuality so many Hettys.


message 13: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
The Grimke Sisters

Several readers have mentioned that the Grimke Sisters existed. Here is a thorough website following the Grinke Sisters throughout their remarkable career:

http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-... . The site is presented by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

The National Museum of Women also maintains an excellent site: http://www.nwhm.org/online-exhibits/y... .

 photo GrimkeSisters_zpsa2c2535b.jpg

The Sisters at an older age

Kidd has said she did extensive research from the Weld -Grimke Papers including diaries and letters. The papers extending from 1730 to 1940 are open for research at the University of Michigan. Hetty was largely a fictitious voice that came to Kidd. For me, Hetty's voice is much more genuine. If Hetty existed by that name at all, all indications are that she died in childhood. It is Hetty's voice that keeps Sarah from being overly righteous in tone, a common trait in the writings of the Abolitionist movement. Just one readers opinion. Not having completed the book, I am hesitant to reveal further history of the Weld-Grimke family as I might unwittingly reveal spoilers of Kidd;s novel. However, I am loving it. My thanks to Diane who nominated it and all those who voted for it.



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