Vanishing Half, The

Brit Bennett
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by O, the Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, Harper's Bazaar, Buzzfeed, Vogue, PureWow, New York Magazine and more "Bennett's tone and style recalls James Baldwin and Jacqueline Woodson, but it's especially reminiscent of Toni Morrison's 1970 debut novel, The Bluest Eye." --Kiley Reid, Wall Street Journal  "A page-turner." --O, The Oprah Magazine "Sure to be one of 2020's best and boldest." -Elle From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white. The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect? Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person's decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins. As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2021-04-26

Fascinating, encrossing exploration of race in the USA. Once again, I'm depressed y American culture and thrilled with the research and writing of its authors.

Reviewed: 2021-04-18

I thought it was a good story with characters different from me and the usual main characters I read about. The plot was pretty interesting and kept me going. It didn't really resonate with me as much as it might someone with a different background.

Reviewed: 2021-01-31

Compelling story of two twins, who are light-skinned blacks. One twin leaves and chooses to live her life as white. Their stories intertwine later in life. Fascinating story about who you are and what the world wants you to be. Loved it!

Reviewed: 2020-08-10

Trigger Warnings: Abuse, Racism (both verbally and physically - leading to death)

The Vanishing Half is about the Vignes twins, Desiree and Stella, and their daughters, Jude and Kennedy. Desiree and Stella grew up in a small town called Mallard, Louisiana, a southern black community that's obsessed with being as light skinned as possible. The twins run away at sixteen to New Orleans and after a few years, split up, and end up living different lives. Many years later, one twin moves back to Mallard with her dark skinned daughter while the other is across the country secretly passing as a white woman. The story's years range from 1968, 1978, 1982, 1985, 1986, and 1988. During that time, the novel talks about both the twins and their daughters lives and how, even after years and miles apart, they're all still connected.

I can't even begin to describe how and why I liked this book so much. It was such an interesting way to bring up the discussion of race, sexuality, abuse, motherhood, and sense of identity. Britt Bennett wrote everything in a way that it wrapped the story around your heart and squeezed it tight. Even though the beginning was a bit slow since you were gathering what the town of Mallard was all about, as soon as you begin to learn about the twins, the story takes off and quickly gets you hooked. Almost every character in the book I cared about, it helped that through written in 3rd person, it jumped between Desiree, Stella, Jude, and Kennedy as being the main focus. One of my favorite characters is Desiree's daughter, Jude and her story of growing up and becoming such a successful young woman she becomes. Also, her relationship with Reese is adore and all I wanted was for them to be happy.

I had seen this book on quite a few lists before it was even published and saw how many rave reviews it had. Then it was released and it was getting even more and more brilliant reviews. I decided to read is ASAP because I didn't want to accidentally read a spoiler. And, after reading this novel, I agree with the high praise. I highly recommend this book! It really makes you think.

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