The Vanishing Half

The Vanishing Half

Book - 2020
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g
graciatrejo
Mar 03, 2021

Bennet was able to capture the intensity of carrying an unwanted inheritance, the impact this has on people's lives, and how they deal with the same issue in a different way. And he points out that all humans have a secret that makes us act as we act, hence the importance of not judging others without seeing that we carry ourselves. A very good reading!
Bennet supo capturar lo intenso de cargar con una herencia no deseada, el impacto que esto tiene en la vida de las personas, y como estas lidian con el mismo asunto de diferente forma. Y nos señala que todos los humanos tenemos un secreto que nos hacer actuar como actuamos, por eso la importancia de no juzgar a los demás sin ver que cargamos nosotros mismos. Una excelente lectura!

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esrobbins
Feb 26, 2021

Another thought provoking read from Bennett. She beautifully captures how life, and the choices you have in life, are different based on your skin color- not just in the 1960’s but in present day too. Bennett did a wonderful job addressing what we give up (and what we get) by the choices we make in our life. This book will stick with me for awhile.

c
Clenor2013
Feb 24, 2021

Interesting premise, but fell into HBO miniseries tropes. Would only recommend as a paperback purchase in the airport before a long flight.

j
Jperry291
Feb 17, 2021

I related to this book on many levels. I am an African American with a sister who looked very different than me, although we were "Irish twins" born one year apart. African Americans come in many shades of brown including white chocolate. In many homes of color including Latinx, this is a topic discussed often. This is a good story and well told.

s
StoicBookaholic
Feb 06, 2021

HBO and Brit Bennett made a 7 figure deal for the adaptation of the book into limited series.
It is a complex novel that easily could have been 2 or 3 novels, but not complicated to follow.

s
SC_bookworm_0
Feb 02, 2021

I wouldn't be surprised to see this book being taught in schools as part of the English curriculum in a few years or so. Bennett is a strong writer, and her book will definitely spark meaningful discussions among students. The story of the Vignes twins is embedded in colorism and race, but Bennet simultaneously comments on other heavy topics such as motherhood, domestic violence, loneliness, identity, and the struggles of being part of the LGBTQ+ community. Aside from this novel being really thought-provoking and important during this time, the story of the twins and their family was captivating from start to finish- the characters were complex and fun to read, and the plot was gripping. I would totally recommend this to anyone and everyone!

t
thereaderforlife
Feb 02, 2021

A very quick read which kept my interest right from the start. This is a story about the importance of being yourself and the unhappiness that can follow when you're not true to this. Of course, it is not always that simple and that is the underlying current here. The author writes about identical twin sisters who take different paths in life; not always by choice. The subject matter includes societal issues such as race and gender which allows the author to develop the characters and make them believable. I would recommend this book to friends. Another indicator of a decent read is when I place a hold on the author's other novels. Done.

d
Dee_BPL
Feb 01, 2021

I very highly recommend this book! Not only does it tackle racial and gender identity issues, it is also a unique story about family, relationships, and the consequences of our choices in life.

c
cknightkc
Jan 30, 2021

THE VANISHING HALF is a difficult book for me to rate. It’s an engrossing, ambitious novel that tackles many hot-button topics. Set mostly in the 1960s-1980s America, this generational drama plays out against the backdrop of key events from this period (the Civil Rights Movement, the King/Kennedy Assassinations, and the AIDS Epidemic). It’s easy to see why so many book groups are discussing it. But the more I got into it, I wondered whether author Brit Bennett took on too much (racism, colorism, domestic violence, lynching, transgender issues, class, etc.), leaving little depth. I enjoyed the thoughtful exploration of identity and mother-daughter / sister relationships, especially in the first half when the story focused on identical twins, Desiree and Stella. Though as the plot progressed, it took on a soap opera quality with dramatic reunions and contrived coincidences appealing to some readers, but not me. While I found many interesting quotes in Brit Bennett’s writing (see Quotes), ultimately, for me, THE VANISHING HALF didn't quite live up to its hype.

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Bookworm1136
Jan 30, 2021

4 1/2 star. I really enjoyed this book. In Mallard, Louisiana, twin girls live in the town established for light black people. Stella and Desiree Vignes see their father lynched by white men. When they are teens, they disappear from Mallard and reappear in New Orleans. One decides to live her life as a white woman and lives a very different life than her twin, who marries a black man who brutalizes her and she flees with her black daughter. Years later, the two young cousins meet and discover the long kept family secrets. A very interesting and thoughtful book.

w
Wako
Jan 28, 2021

Bennett delivers a thought provoking story built upon the act of passing, but touching on issues of family and identity (race, gender, community) in complex and meaningful ways. The tale spans the 1940s through the 80s and is told from a variety of narrative voices, each compelling and nuanced. This really isn't my typical read, but I found the story to be captivating and rich; highly recommended.

k
kellyvigurs
Jan 27, 2021

rec from hillary

m
mariannelcurtis
Jan 18, 2021

I really enjoyed this book, it’s characters and the import of the stories woven. My take is that Brit Bennet was able to show a depth of insight into a character , in some instances, with just a few words or a specific example. She is dealing with complex issues; and personally, I felt she did brilliantly. I was drawn in and fully enjoyed all the place, time and character she wove us through.

h
harlouwilson
Jan 16, 2021

I have been lucky so far this month, every book I have read I have thoroughly enjoyed, this book is no exception. It was told in an entertaining way, weaving characters and time in a way that made you want to keep reading. I was also relatively happy with the queer/trans representation in this novel. Set in a time where transgender characters could have faced brutality and excessive hate the author instead told a calm and nurturing story of love between two people who had spent much of their life feeling out of their own bodies.

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njkstl
Jan 06, 2021

Laurie recommendation.

m
mnack_0
Jan 04, 2021

An interesting read. Tightly written. Not a fave. I prefer more action - less character study.

n
NANCY STAUFFER
Jan 02, 2021

Review in The Week

r
RosaReads2
Dec 20, 2020

I don’t have a lot of words for this work of fiction that dives deeply into touchy subjects about race, gender, identity, as well as a few other lesser topics.

As it is, there is so much going on in this book. Not in an overwhelming way, but in a “how will it all connect?” way. And it does connect. Yet, the author is spare in her impeccable writing and careful not to create a spectacle of the connections. She calmly and subtly unites these characters, tentatively tethered to one another.

While I found it hard to put down while drawn into the lives of these familial connected strangers, I was also left with some questions that weren't answered. Most likely, the intent of the author and have naught to do with the larger scope of the story. Simply, little details that my forever swirling mind focuses on.

The ending was congruent with the gentle pace of the preceding chapters and complimented the author’s precise, yet sensitive story telling. Honestly, this was the story I’ve been wanting to read among the wave of agenda-laced fiction from #ownvoice authors. Those questions I mentioned above? There are no simple answers.

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L_Sanga
Nov 26, 2020

As much as I found the back half of the story engaging, it was still a little bloated for me. That's my only gripe. Bennett has written a wonderful story. Deep character development and an inciteful take on human behaviour. Will add Mothers to my TBR

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EljayJohnson
Nov 25, 2020

I read Bennett's The Mothers and thought it was good, but this is far better. It's the story of the Vignes twins Desiree and Stella, who leave their tiny Louisiana hometown at 16. Desiree returns but Stella, like Desiree a very light-skinned black woman, "passes" and disappears into a white life. Even more than the twins, this is the story of Desiree's daughter Jude, a character Bennett draws with incredible delicacy and depth. This is a story about a family, about what can and can't be forgiven, about racism and colorism, and most especially about identity and what is sacrificed in the search for it. This is a literary and layered book, but it's also immensely readable with a compelling what-happens-next urgency to it. Highly recommended.

JCLJenV Nov 16, 2020

A novel dealing with complicated feelings about race. The story in this book is the highlight and kept me engaged from start to finish. I highly recommend this novel.

JCLBrittanyC Nov 14, 2020

I have very mixed thoughts on this one. The Vanishing Half has been one of the top books of the year, but it just left me feeling meh. The plot is very striking and during the first few chapters left me very reminiscent of Where the Crawdads Sing. In The Vanishing Half, we have twin sisters Desiree and Stella Vignes who have run away from their small town home at 16 in search of a better life. Mallard the community they grow up in is made up of extremely light skinned black people. Meaning in many situation, unless known otherwise, members of the community could pass as white. When Stella ends up leaving Desiree in New Orleans, we learn that she begins to build a white life for herself. The two begin lead completely different lives until, unknowingly their worlds collide when their daughters (Jude and Kennedy) happen to meet in Los Angeles. I think this book had its winning plotlines, but everything kind of left me hanging and wanting more. I’d be interested in reviews from others, because I know many have loved it. I think how the separation of the twins effected each daughter spoken volumes to the type of women Jude and Kennedy became. I don’t know if this is a top read of 2020 for me, but I’m glad I read it, otherwise I would have always wondered. I will also be attended the online book group on 11/17 for this titles, so I’m excited to hear others thoughts.

IndyPL_LindsayH Nov 04, 2020

What is it like to shirk your identity? The Vanishing Half is about a town that tries it`s best to shirk it`s black identity. Small town Mallard, Louisiana is a tiny town that is full of black people that have a desire to preserve the light skinned nature of their citizens. Marrying someone darker than you is the worst thing you can do.

Desiree and Stella Vignes are identical twins that grow up with this mindset. They witness an unspeakable act of violence at a young age. This act and the mindset of Mallard greatly influence their upbringing. Their stories diverge in the midst of their adolescence and they go in different directions.

The Vanishing Half is an intriguing tale of how racial identity can influence your life and the lives of your offspring. It is a tour de force!

m
midori_hon
Oct 28, 2020

i can see why this book is a bestseller.
it made me reflect on self identity and 'otherness'.
what happens when you look just like someone else, but the other decides to pass as a different ethnicity?
what happens when how you were born doesn't match with how you feel internally?
it also reminded me of growing up with a mix of two cultures and being confronted with casual racism.

debwalker Oct 27, 2020

When your identical twin sister decides to "pass".....


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