About the 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 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.
This is a tough book to review because this is a complex storyline, and one misstep could spoil certain aspects of the book. The blurb doesn’t fully reveal what you’re going to get when you read the book. I think the vagueness helps keep the plotlines from being spoiled. Because of that, this won’t be much of a review.
“You could cover a lifetime in eleven miles.” You don’t have to have read the book for this to resonate with you. It speaks of the distance we can have between others and the emotional toll it takes to travel that distance. I loved Early’s devotion to Desiree. It can be hard for couples to agree on the big life decisions, and Early was accommodating to what Desiree needed. I loved Jude. I loved her persistence and her drive.
Even if this book isn’t for everyone, it’s a must-read for everyone. It’s an incredibly powerful read.
The Vanishing Half is available on Amazon for $13.99