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The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett Book Review

Reasons For Reading This Book:

Over the last couple of years I have seen The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett in almost every bookstore I have entered. The cover is very captivating. Recently I thought about it again and decided to look at the description of the book to see if I would be interested in reading it. The description mentioned that two of the main characters were female twins, after I read that I knew I had to read it. If you did not know I have a twin sister and have read a number of books about twins over the years. It has been awhile since I read one and the rest of the description interested me so I checked it out from the library.

Content of This Book:

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, Southern Black community and running away at age 16, 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. Years later the twins' daughters become aquatinted and their family history and secrets start to became apartment to one and not the other.

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Louisiana to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett writes a riveting, emotional family story with a brilliant exploration of the American history of passingLooking 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.

What I Liked About This Book:

I liked the way the book was sectioned. The length of time for each section was perfect because it covered what was needed and then jumped forward years to when more significant events pertaining to the main plot were happening. I appreciate that the author would include small details to fill in any gaps or necessary information from between the sections. I liked that the focus of the plot was always the same but jumped between characters depending on who was more involved in the plot at that time. I commend the author for not including unnecessary narration from characters in sections where they did not need to be involved. I was fascinated by the idea of Mallard and all the unique culture and societal standards that the place had. More and more information was given about the town throughout the story as it became relevant which added to the interest and the significance that it played to the plot. The book had a bit of everything: drama, relationships, tragedy, self-discovery, familial-discovery, varying societal status, mystery, adventure, and so much more. Each time I picked this book up to read I was transported into it's world. There was so much in this book that was unlike anything else I have every read. Stella's ability to pass as white lead to a very interesting conversation between my mom and I. This is something that I was ignorantly unaware of and that it was possible to do this. I had watched a documentary about someone trying to pass as black but had never heard of the reverse. This conversation prompted my mom to then recommend The Glided Years by Karin Tanabe which I just got from the library to read. I feel as though this is the perfect book for a book club, which it was for The Good America Book Club, because there is so much to discuss about: the plot, themes, ideas, characters, and all that come with it. Overall I loved the writing style and found it easy to read and digest. It had the perfect amount of detail and some really beautiful and memorable descriptions. There was so much of this book that I could visually picture and could see it being made into a series or movie, which I would watch. The last thing I will say is that this book brought up so much thought about race and societal standards but also connected to me on a personal level because of the twin sisters. 

What I Disliked About This Book:

One of the plot points that was forgotten about that really interested me was Jude (Desiree's daughter) getting a track scholarship to UCLA. I am a huge sports fan and a runner so this was of particular interest to me. Shortly after she arrived in LA any mention of track was dropped and nothing ever came of the plot point. Running was something that she fell in love with in Mallard at a young age and I would have loved for the author to explore more of this because there is so much that can be talked about when it comes to college athletes especially surrounding race at the time that Jude was in college. I believe the author missed the mark on exploring more of this plot point. 

Would I Recommend This Book?

If you are late to the game like me and have not read this book I highly recommend it! There is so much it offers, you will not regret reading it. Like I said above this would also make a good read for a book club because there is some much conversation and discussion that can come from this book. 

Check out my book reviews for 2023!!

Horse by Geraldine Brooks  
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
Hester by Laurie Pico Albanese
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Environmental and Sustainability Book Reviews 2022
Self-Improvement Book Reviews 2022
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Know My Name by Chanel Miller
The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
Not All Diamonds and Rosé by Dave Quinn
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Golden Girl by Elin Hilderbrand
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham 
Girls With Bright Futures by Tracy Dobmeier and Wendy Katzman
Run, Rose, Run by James Patterson and Dolly Parton
The Summer Series by Jenny Han
A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard
The Housewives: The Real Story Behind the Real Housewives by Brian Moylan
Verity by Colleen Hoover
All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart 
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Majesty: American Royals 2 by Kathrine McGree
Every Last Secret by A.R. Torre

Check out my book reviews for 2021!!

2021 Book Rankings

Beach Read By Emily Henry
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Educated by Tara Westover
The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig 
The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins 
We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins 
We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Klara and the Sun 
The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner
American Duchess by Karen Harper 
Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
Girl With No Job by Claudia Oshry
Down the Habit Hole by Holly Madison Book Review
My Story by Elizabeth Smart
Layla by Colleen Hoover

Check out my book reviews for 2020!!

Check out my book reviews for 2019!!

Check out my book reviews from 2018!!

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