The Invention Of Wings was a book that received a lot of hype from just about every major book list (Oprah’s book club, New York Times best sellers). For some reason, I just couldn’t see why. The premise was that a young black slave named Handful was gifted to her master’s daughter, Sarah, on Sarah’s birthday. Sarah was an abolitionist at heart and did not want to own a slave. Though she was young, Handful had a strong sense of herself and felt how wrong slavery was. The book was divided into two narrations, one by Sarah the other by Handful. These two narratives did not fit well together. Each chapter felt like its own story without any tie in to a larger story or even a tie in to the life of the woman narrating that chapter. The lack of flow made this an excruciatingly slow read. Additionally, there just wasn’t any hook to keep me turning the page.
Sarah slowly emerged as a strong woman who refused to compromise her morals for marriage, but it wasn’t until the end of the book that Sarah took action to became an abolitionist when she publicly spoke out against and for women’s rights. I expected that Sarah would take some big actions as a youngster to show her defiance of slavery, but the small events that occurred where insignificant and not very interesting. So, it was only at the end, I even started to like Sarah as a character. Handful’s story was so generic and predictable, that I lost interest pretty quickly. A better, and true story of slavery is Twelve Years a Slave.
The truth is that I started this book and put it down when it first came out the only reason I muscled trough it now was because it my book club’s pick for this month. I really enjoyed this author’s other two novels, The Mermaid Chair and The Secret Life Of Bees, but I would leave this book on the shelf.