From the celebrated author of The Secret Life of Bees, a magnificent novel about two unforgettable American women.
Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world - and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection.
Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.
Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.
Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.
This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.
©2014 Sue Monk Kidd (P)2014 Penguin Audio
"Narrators Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye are well matched in talent; their performances of Kidd's dual-viewpoint fictionalized story of Sarah Grimké and her handmaid, Handful, complement each other perfectly. Both Lamia and Oduye adopt an accent and rhythm that befit the social status of their characters, modifying their voices subtly as the two protagonists grow from innocent girls to world-weary middle-aged women. Lamia keys in on Grimké's frustrations and victories in her fight for both abolition and women's rights, making it easy for listeners to sympathize with Grimké's difficult choices. Oduye's interpretation of Handful's personality, including her pride as a skilled seamstress and her yearning for freedom and self-identity, helps listeners connect emotionally to the slave. Together the narrators have created a stellar audiobook." (AudioFile)
OT Student, loves to read, write, play games, and hang out with friends and family.
I love the two readers. Both the women who played Handful and Sarah. Their voice acting was amazing like they were actually from around their time, and they had consistant voices when they were mimicking/ voicing out other characters such as the way Sarah's voice actor imitated her mother's voice.
The Color Purple. I know the plots are very different, but it just reminded me of women who just had to find themselves, overcome obstacles, and finding themselves and becoming strong women who impact the lives of others.
The narrators really made a vivid picture in my head like I was watching a movie! Their voice acting was amazing and so was the emotion.
If you are hesitating whether or whether not to get this novel, I'd say get it! You will not regret your purchase! The novel for me was entertaining from the start to the very end. There were not any slow parts for me, nor did I get bored. The characters are dynamic and they develop over the course of the book and you will feel bad for them, you will feel good for them, and you want them to succeed. I actually was sad when this book ended. The story did not abruptly end...it was a perfect ending...I was just sad that I wouldn't hear more from Handful and Sarah.
I did not realize this was a historical fiction when I purchased the novel. The story itself is very good. Finding out after that many of the characters and events actually happened, made the story that much more rich and captivating.
I've listened to several audiobooks and all except one have been well done. This one, however, is outstanding. The narrators were matched perfectly to the roles. I was caught up from the first words and found it difficult to stop listening. The story is beautiful and compelling. Both stories had equal importance and were expertly written. Sue Monk Kidd is a master.
There are so many memorable moments in the book. I remember holding my breath when Handful was caught with the quilt.
My imagination is usually better than anything anyone can present to me in a reading, but I appreciated the accents and pronunciations that the narrators brought to the story. I could lie back, close my eyes, and let the movie play in my mind.
This book made me feel so many emotions. I laughed, cried, cried, yelled, cursed, and contemplated man's inhumanity toward his fellow man.
I have recommended this book to several people, notably young people who are unschooled in American history. This is a great perspective. Slaves defied their "masters" and some masters defied the status quo. A beautiful story.
Yes I would recommend this book. It was enthralling. I couldn't stop listening. The voice changes between the two girls and later women was compelling. Even though I often wanted to cry for, rage for, and scream at the world for these two. I just had to know what was going to happen next.
When handful struck back.
This narrator was new to me.
Handful. She was the most resilient person.
I loved best to find out that most of the characters and events in this book really took placed. Well written-I didn't want to book the Kindle down!
The Secret Life of Bees, also by Sue Monk Kidd. The author sucks you in with her writings and stories. And both of these stories give an inside look into the lives of African Americans from different time periods than our own.
No. But both ladies did a great job-they had the accents down pat!
I loved that this book went back and forth between the view of not only Sarah, the white southern girl who wants to rebel against all of society's current notions, but also Heddie, the slave she is given for her 11th birthday. The author did a great job in switching from viewpoints but still moving the timeline forward-not repeating with each girl. Yet, you still got a good understanding of each girl's feelings from each stiutation/event. I really felt like I was in that time period and understood their deepest thoughts and desires.
The characters were rich and complex, and the story moving and compelling. The performance was outstanding. I had never before been able to listen to an audio book, and I was addicted. The voices of Handful and Sarah made me feel as if I was in the same room listening to them tell the story.
In audio format, it would be The Help -- both books really benefit from having different voices in the narration.
In written format, I'm not sure -- it is a fairly singular book.
I was happily surprised by the complexity of the characters developed in this book. It is a difficult story to tell without somehow shortchanging the complexities of white-black relationships during the era in which the book is set and acknowledging the legacies of racism in our 21st century view of history. Kidd does it well.
One of the best for listening and keeping my attention. Also an ending you can accept without feeling cut off.
The story was told so well and each chapter made you want to listen to the next. I listen in my car and always had a hard time turning it off when I arrived at my destination and had to have it playing again as soon as I got back in the car.
Great character voices that allowed you to know who was talking even without the "said Handful" at the end.
I can't wait to read more of this author. I enjoyed The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd as well and I'm going to fine more of her books to listen to next.
Reading is in my DNA. Dad, Granddad and Grandma were all journalists and crazy readers. When I can't read, I listen!
I am no fancy writer/reviewer. I can only say that I love books of many genres and this book will be one of my favorites. I thought the writing impeccable and so descriptive, I felt as I was sitting in the cellar room with Momma and Handful, my fingers pricked and tired from hours of sewing. I was Sarah's quiet cheerleader, lifting her up in my heart as she struggled through every step of her journey. These women will live on in my heart. I had hesitated to listen to this particular book - I tend to shy away when a prior book has disappointed me (The Mermaid's Chair) but I am glad I took the advice of other reviewers. It was worth every minute, plus all the extra miles of thought that went into the thinking through-out and after finishing it.
Yes - Great story, great narration, loved the voices of these women, made the book come alive.
I was drawn to handful
No, but I want to now
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