KV Book Review: The Vanishing Half

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Book: The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett

If you read and liked Where the Crawdads Sing or are a fan of fiction literature, you will enjoy this book!

Kara Vallari Book Review:

I loved the Vanishing Half – it’s beautiful and heartbreaking all at once. It is a beautiful portrayal of how inequality and privilege can shape our lives. It offers insightful perspectives and highlights our internal struggle with self identity illustrating just how different humans can be from one another. It’s also fascinating to observe how seemingly small decisions have the power to shape a life and lead you so far down a path that you didn’t even realize you were on until it’s too late.

Bennett does an incredible job storytelling from multiple perspectives and weaving together a deep, complex yet vivid narrative that spans multiple decades. I thought her writing was detailed and descriptive, almost like I was actually there witnessing everything play out in front of me. I also loved getting to know the Vignes sisters and their daughters through Bennett’s thoughtful character development and portrayal of their relationships with one another.

In a personal sense, I was a bit disappointed with the ending but it was fitting given the nature of the book. This is definitely a story that will stay with you long after you’ve finished and is a must read for anyone who enjoys fiction!

Book Synopsis (from Amazon):

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. Many 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?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins. 

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