Book Review: The Vanishing Half

Book Review of The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

 

I’ve heard so much about this book and have seen it all over Instagram – and the cover is certainly eye catching. I finally picked it up and am so glad that I did.

This is the story of twins, Stella and Desiree, who are Black but are light skinned so can pass as White, which one of them does. This is pretty much all I knew going in and was pleasantly surprised that the book was so much more than this. Spanning from the 1950s to the 1990s, this book follows 4 main narrators, Stella and Desiree, but also their daughters, Kennedy and Jude.

The exploration of vanishing is done through multiple ways, not just through race and I loved how all of the story lines interconnected around this theme. There are so many reasons that people hide parts of themselves and Bennett touches on some of these in really thoughtful ways (I won’t spoil anything here).

The book also focuses on what it means to be Black and discrimination. Some of that was honestly hard to read, but necessary all the same.

I was totally invested in this story and the characters, even when I disliked them and their choices (which is something I love, well rounded characters who challenge me). This book is well written, engaging, and sweeping (and gorgeous).

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