Hey friends, here is my honest book review of The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. Easily one of the most anticipated books of Summer 2020.
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“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. Ten 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’ story lines intersect?”( From Amazon)
My Review of The Vanishing Half
This book had a LOT of hype. It was on every Must Read booklist this year, including my own.
There are a few spoilers in this review before you keep reading…
I liked it. ALMOST loved it.
One of the most anticipated books of the summer, The Vanishing Half does live up to its promise.
The Vanishing Half explores the story of identical black twin sisters: Stella and Desiree. The two grow up in 1950s Mallard, Louisiana: a town where all of its residents are light skinned and revere and go through great pains to maintain and lighten their skin. But then, their stories go in very different directions once the girls run away. Stella moves to California, marries a white man ( who has no clue he has married a black woman) and has a daughter and Desiree returns to the town they grew up in, dark skinned daughter in tow. The two live completely almost dramatically different lives which all comes together when their daughters meet by chance.
Over all this book was about identity, and we get to see each and every character grapple with it as the book moves on. From the twins, to their daughters to the other secondary characters. Everyone was trying to find themselves.
The one glaring issue I had was the underdevelopment of the relationship between Jude and Reese. Reese is a transgender man who passes as a straight cis man to others. We never got to fully explore that relationship so the inclusion of it felt incomplete. Like it was thrown in or the details edited out. The story could have been just as good without it in my opinion.
But overall, I liked this book and I couldn’t wait to see how it ended. It was a great study on race, identity, and family. But the ending left me…wanting. It felt incomplete and that’s why I can’t give it a full five stars. I kept turning the page waiting for the rest of the story.
Would I recommend this book? Yes. And I have.
Publication Date: June 2, 2020
Publisher: Riverhead Books