The Vanishing Half is the second book I have read by Brit Bennett. Her earlier work The Mothers was not one of my favorite reads, so I was hesitant to tackle The Vanishing Half. But I found a surprising story of family, race and identity. Here is my book review The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.
The Vignes sisters, Stella and Desiree, are twins growing up in the 1940’s in a rural southern town called Mallard. There hometown is known for being the place where fair skinned black Americans live. The people of Mallard shun their darker skinned ancestors but aren’t able to break into the white world where better jobs and futures await.
Stella and Desiree are close and dream about the day they can leave Mallard. When they are 16 they run away to New Orleans. But then Stella disappears and Desiree is left wondering where her Vanishing Half has gone.
Desiree marries a black man, but eventuallyleaves the abusive marriage. She returns to fair skinned Mallard with her ink black eight year old daughter Jude. Jude is looked down upon her entire life by the people of Mallard. Meanwhile Stella is living a life far away in California, putting her entire past and ancestry behind her, she has married a white man who believes she too is white.
Eventually Jude arrives in California on a track scholarship and through a collection of events finds Stella there living secretly as a white women. The charade begins to unravel as secrets are revealed, lies are questioned and entire lives sit on the brink between two worlds; one black and one white. The Vanishing Half is a fabulously told story of race, family, emotion and the desire to be accepted for who we are. The story explores so many questions about choices we make throughout our lives and how those choices affect future generations.
*****Five stars for The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
My current read The Wild Things by Dave Eggers
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