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“The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd

Members of the RFM team share books they’ve recently enjoyed. Maybe you will, too! 

I’m author-loyal, so when I saw a title from one of my favorite writers on my high schooler’s summer reading list, I picked up Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings. 

Throughout this work of historical fiction, which explores slavery, the abolitionist movement, and women’s rights in the early nineteenth century, I found myself asking which plot points were drawn from what resources, did people actually treat other human beings like this, and were these characters in particular real people? In the end, whether or not the characters actually lived (which you do learn in the author’s note) did not matter one bit.

Kidd’s protagonists are as real as it gets! Sarah Grimke comes from a wealthy white South Carolina family and struggles with slavery from an early age. Handful, also eleven, is the slave the white girl receives from her mother as a gift for her birthday. Seeing these two young women in action over three decades opens an important window into where we are today with regard to equality and civil rights. The Invention of Wings is a book that sticks with you, and if you’re really lucky, your son or daughter will read it, too.

Karen Schwartzkopf has her dream job as managing editor of RFM. Wife, mother, arts and sports lover, she lives and works in the West End with her family, including husband Scott, who not coincidentally is RFM’s creative director. You can read Karen’s take on parenting her three daughters – Sam, Robin, and Lindsey, also known as the women-children – in the Editor’s Voice.
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