I would listen to Freeman again (and actually, I plan to...) to see how Leonard Pitts completely captures each nuanced emotion from his characters. Every character, major and minor has something to say, and each person literally jumps off the page.
"The Warmth of Other Sons" by Isabelle Wilkerson. They both have a way of making the desires of their characters become your own.
It took a few minutes to acclimate myself to Sean Crisden's voice, but only a few. When the emotional scenes came up in the novel, Crisden went from reading to acting. Often during the course of the book, I felt like I was watching a film. The color in his voice was broad and full.
At 15 hours, it's hard to listen to "Freeman" in one sitting; I don't know if anyone could stand the emotional rollercoaster ride. I listened during my trips to and from work as well as on shopping errands, trips to the laundromat, etc. However, the test of a truly well written/well told story is if I listen to it at home while the television and other distractions are present. This novel has passed that test: At least four hours of this book's running time was spent in my home office, with the door shut and the headphones slapped on my ears. All of this just to find out what happens next!
Bravo! This is a triumphant novel. I can only hope that my future offerings will elicit within my readers at least one-tenth the reaction this book has had in me.
Sue Monk Kidd employs two unforgettable characters, Handful and Sarah, to weave a patchwork quilt of a tale that's packed with astounding highs and astonishing lows. "The Invention of Wings" opens with Handful, a young slave girl, being presented as a personal maid to 11 year old Sarah. It's Charleston in the early 1800's, and slavery is the law of the land. Kidd deftly guides the readers/listeners through aspects of each woman's life (mother/daughter relationships, courtship, sibling rivalry) and demonstrates their mirroring strengths and challenges despite being on opposite sides of the color and class line. But wait, this is more than just your run of the mill slave girl and missus friendship bonding story. Kidd ups the ante by bringing in abolition, women's liberation and civil rights; ideas way ahead of the time set for the novel and she ably shows how these radical ideas affect the hopes and dreams of the women. There are numerous twists and turns in the story, but not one feels forced or contrived. Just as beautiful as Kidd's prose is the masterful alternating narration between Handful and Sarah which lays out each woman's side, every point and counterpoint. An afterword from Sue Monk Kidd breaks down which characters and events were real and which were invented, but it really doesn't matter; the end effect is that the inspiration of "The Invention of Wings" is palpable, tangible and solid.
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