The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
This book takes a strong heart to get through. Set in the early-to-mid-1800’s, The Invention of Wings tells the tale of Sarah Grimke (a real abolitionist) and her slave, Handful (a real slave with a fictitious storyline). Grab a copy with the author’s notes, because it’s worth reading!
Anyway, as I had mentioned, it is a tough read, but it is such an important lesson in history – when slavery was an acceptable practice, as was women not being allowed to speak freely. To loosely quote Handful, “My mind is free but my body isn’t, your body is free but your mind isn’t.” It is hard to believe where the world’s mindset was at 200 years ago, but you have to cheer for Sarah and her sister as they fought for the rights of the slaves.
I think it’s remarkable that Kidd, a white woman from the south, hit the nail on the head with this book, which wonderfully weaves fact and fiction together; I could feel Handful’s pain and Sarah’s desires equally and never felt that Kidd was biased towards one character over another.
As a Canadian, we don’t extensively learn about the history of slavery in the United States, so I was amazed when I discovered that Sarah Grimke and her crusades were real. The world was, and sadly still is, full of awful people who don’t see their fellow human as equals. The world still needs more people like Ms. Grimke.
My rating: ★★★★★/5 stars
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Am I the last person on this planet to read anything by Margaret Atwood? Probably. I’ll also let it be known right away that I have not seen the tv series, but knowing that it was quite popular it inspired me to pick up The Handmaid’s Tale and give it a go.
To say I enjoyed this book would be a bit of a stretch, but that’s not to say I didn’t find it interesting. Anything regarding a dystopia needs to be absorbed slowly and carefully. First it was understanding how women’s roles changed back to something beyond the times of suffrage, and wrapping your head around that. Then it was getting used to Offred’s narrative and how she floated in and out of the past and present.
There are so many things about The Handmaid’s Tale that I found interesting that I can’t really mention without spoiling it for anyone who lives under the same rock I do and hasn’t read and/or watched the series. I will say that I was captivated by Offred’s story and was curious to see if she would ever find what she was looking for. It was also a shocker to see where Atwood took this hyper-religious, post-apocalyptic world. It was a little creepy in quite a few ways but not in a manner that made me want to stop reading.
Maybe the series is better than the book and offers more insight of the Handmaid’s literal tale, but Atwood’s original work just didn’t hit me the way I thought it would’ve.
My rating: ★★★/5 Stars
Pardon me as it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, let alone a book review! I’m going to slightly tweet how I format these posts, mainly by just linking to the book details on Goodreads instead of copying and pasting the entire book jacket. Why? Mainly so you can get straight to the review, but also because formatting can be a pain. Regardless, here goes the following review:
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Oh, how I wanted so much more from this novel. Being a Pulitzer Prize winner, I thought for sure that Less was going to be a page-turner, but alas, it felt more like a bunch of whining drivel.
Less follows Arthur Less as he travels the world in a “woe-is-me” pity party. Boo-hoo, he’s turning 50. Boo-hoo, his ex-lover is getting married. Boo-hoo, his novel pitch tanked. I had a hard time sympathizing for Less, to say the least.
I had a really difficult time staying focussed as things seemed to be everywhere. I skimmed through some paragraphs and I don’t feel like I missed anything significant.
The ending was disappointing and I really wonder how on earth Less (the book, not the character) received such a coveted award.
My rating: ★★½ / 5 stars