Rating: 4.5 / 5
After reading and really enjoying Brit Bennett’s THE MOTHERS, I immediately added THE VANISHING HALF on to my next Book of the Month order. I finally managed to pick it up before the end of November in a mood reading moment.
THE VANISHING HALF Follows the identical twin Vignes sisters, Desiree and Stella, who live two very much not identical lives. Having grown up in a very small town which isn’t even a blip on most maps, they have grown up in an environment where the color of one’s skin is very much in focus. As teens they decide to run away from the life of poverty and work ahead of them if they stay home with their mother.
The book kicks off with Desiree returning home to move back in with her mother with her very dark skinned daughter. In a town where being light skin is an ideal, she rebelled by marrying a man with very dark skin, though the marriage did not work to plan. Meanwhile Stella took a polar opposite route and found herself living as a white woman, something her husband and daughter don’t even know. As the book continues, the story picks up from the daughters’ perspectives as the truths of their past come to light.
I was immediately hooked into Brit Bennett’s writing in this one and I flew through it in a single day. She did an incredible job of balancing the various stories and wrapping up the sisters’ (and cousins’) histories without losing traction in the modern day story line. The impact of racism on the community where the Vignes begin and the lives they choose to live is apparent. I really felt for each of the women, strong as they were in various ways but also hurting. There are definitely hard moments to read, but I found the overall story to be beautifully done!
I know I’m probably among the last to finally pick this one up, but if you haven’t yet had the opportunity I would highly recommend it! I will definitely be looking for more by Brit Bennett!