WOW, what a powerhouse of a book! I finished The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett a few weeks ago and I am STILL thinking about it! I had very high standards going into this one because of all the awards it’s won and from all the rave reviews on Bookstagram about it and holy shit did it live up to the hype!
BOOK DESCRIPTION: “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.”
Brit Bennett is a master writer and I can’t even begin to describe the emotions this story provoked. It was joyful, comical, sad, infuriating, and bittersweet all at once. This book started off as a slow burn as you got familiar with the characters and their backgrounds and then it really started to amp up and maintained that energy through the end. Multiple topics were covered through out this book such as race, gender, class, self-discovery, parenting, domestic abuse, trauma from abandonment, sexual abuse, and much more. The character development in this book was incredible and I loved getting to know the identities of Stella and Desiree, as well as their families. My heart ached for everything that Stella and Desiree went through and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see how each of them developed as individuals over the course of this book.
I truly can’t recommend this book enough. If you’re looking for something with intoxicating writing, deep/relatable characters, a captivating storyline and thought-provoking topics, this one is for you! I am officially boosting The Mothers by Brit Bennett further up on my TBR list because I can’t wait to explore more of her work.
BEER RECOMMENDATION: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett is best paired with Cream Team by Flying Dog Brewery, a delicious cookies and cream flavored milk stout 🍻