The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd

September Book Club: The Invention of Wings

This is the peek inside the reading adventures of my real-life book club. During the summer it is next to impossible for all of us to meet and discuss, which is why I’ve not posted since May. We did read The Vacationers by Emma Straub, which was my pick for July, but I was so annoyed with the book that I never did finish it and certainly did not want to post about it. We also read Brene´ Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, and I loved it. Highly recommend.

So, what have you been reading this summer? Besides the two mentioned above, I’ve read The Alchemist / Paulo Coelho, Full Catastrophe Living / Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls / David Sedaris, the latter of which is by far, the most entertaining and enjoyable of the bunch. I’m still making my way through three tomes of nonfiction medieval history which is research for my novel. Not a banner summer of reading for me, but then, not all summers are. Here’s a roundup of the books we’ve read so far in the Big Girl Book Club in case you’d like to catch up on any one of these in these last few weeks of summer:



But now it’s already two days into September, the month for learning, and here’s our new book:

 The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd

 The Invention of Wings: A Novel (No Annotations) by Sue Monk Kidd

Kidd is the well-known author of The Secret Life of Bees and this book was also Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club pick a while back.  Themes of repression, freedom, and rebellion abound in this book. Interesting that Kidd’s characters are based on real-life historical figures. Have a look at Amazon’s Editorial review by Mary Malcolm: (excerpt)

“In the early 1830s, Sarah Grimké and her younger sister, Angelina, were the most infamous women in America. They had rebelled so vocally against their family, society, and their religion that they were reviled, pursued, and exiled from their home city of Charleston, South Carolina, under threat of death. Their crime was speaking out in favor of liberty and equality and for African American slaves and women, arguments too radically humanist even for the abolitionists of their time. Their lectures drew crowds of thousands, even (shockingly, then) men, and their most popular pamphlet directly inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin–published 15 years later. These women took many of the first brutal backlashes against feminists and abolitionists, but even their names are barely known now. Sue Monk Kidd became fascinated by these sisters, and the question of what compelled them to risk certain fury and say with the full force of their convictions what others had not (or could not). She discovered that in 1803, when Sarah turned 11, her parents gave her the “human present” of 10-year-old Hetty to be her handmaid, and Sarah taught Hetty to read, an act of rebellion met with punishment so severe that the slave girl died of “an unspecified disease” shortly after her beating. Kidd knew then that she had to try to bring Hetty back to life (“I would imagine what might have been,” she tells us), and she starts these girls’ stories here, both cast in roles they despise. She trades chapters between their voices across decades, imagining the Grimké sisters’ courageous metamorphosis and, perhaps more vitally, she gives Hetty her own life of struggle and transformation. Few characters have ever been so alive to me as Hetty and Sarah. Long after you finish this book, you’ll feel its courageous heart beating inside your own. – Mari Malcolm” 

Author Sue Monk Kidd


  • Read Oprah’s interview with Kidd here.
  •  Most Amazon reviews mentioned the versions of this book with Oprah’s notes inserted into the text to be extremely distracting. The original publisher’s version without annotations can be found on Amazon here.
  • Connect with Sue Monk Kidd on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
  • The author’s book club kit (pdf) is here.
  • The author answers reader questions on The Invention of Wings with Oprah:


Dive in and then post your reaction by the end of the September by leaving a comment below. Subscribe in the comments section below if you want to keep up with the discussion. Your comments are the best part of The Big Girl Book Club. Purchasing your copy of The Invention of Wings through this link helps support the cost of running this blog.

Thank-you for your readership & support!

Author photo credit: Roland Scarpa via the author’s website



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