“The Invention of Wings” tells the story of Handful, an African American slave in the early nineteenth century, and Sarah Grimke, the girl Handful was given to as a birthday present at the age of ten.
This book, more than anything else, made me think. I had read about slavery before, of course, but this book made it painfully clear to me that all people involved were, indeed, human. Humans with brains and feelings, humans who cared for others, humans who sometimes knew they were doing the wrong thing but were too comfortable in their position to change their actions. The book describes Sarah’s fight to achieve equal rights for both African Americans and women, and it presented in front of me a society that truly believed these two groups did not deserve these rights. To add to that, after finishing “The Invention of Wings” I found out that Sarah was a real woman, and that many of the book’s storylines were real events that occurred in her life.
In addition to that, the book is beautifully written. I have to mention I read it in Hebrew, but what sounds good in translation usually sounds even better in the original language, and this whole book “sounded” good. I’m a person who loves quoting, and “The Invention of Wings” has many lines worth quoting. The story is told from both Sarah’s and Handful’s points of view; and the author manages to create a different voice for each of them, which adds both to the beauty of the book and to the depth of the characters.
“The Invention of Wings” was a great read, and it is recommended to anybody who want to get lost in thoughts about the human nature, or just to learn a bit more about the American history (or, possibly, both).
Author: Adi Yakoel
Editor: Shy Zvouloun