The Vanishing Half
Author: Brit Bennett
Published: June 2, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 11-24, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
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’ storylines intersect?
**Unpopular opinion alert**
Everyone seems to be raving about The Vanishing Half, but this is one novel that did not really work for me and I am still not sure why almost a month later. It has an interesting premise: The novel starts out in the 1950s and we have twin girls (Desiree and Stella), both black, but one can pass as white, and she does. But keeping this secret from everyone, including her husband seems to damage Stella. The novel ends in the 1990s with their daughters and lives intersecting.
To see twins live totally different lives despite being the same race during a time of racial changes and the effects of their decisions change everything including their daughters’ lives.
The storyline I was most interested is not even mentioned in the book description, so it came off as a surprise: It dealt with Jude (Desiree’s daughter) and her relationship with Reese, a transgender man. This relationship almost did not make sense with some of the activities they participated in, as the LGBTQ community has not always coincided well/ been inclusive together in the past especially during this time in the past that the novel is based.
Overall, this is one that had promise, but maybe I just listened to the audiobook at the wrong time. Maybe it was the fact that I listened to the audiobook. Some books don’t translate well to audio. I know it has been optioned for TV/Film, so I would give that a try and see what I think.