The Vanishing Half Review

Paperback, 366 Pages
Adult/ Contemporary/ Historical Fiction
By: Brit Bennet
Rating: ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ 1/4

โ€œThere were many ways to be alienated from someone, few to actually belong.โ€

I have to confess that the main reason I picked this book up is a superficial one. I was in the bookstore and saw this shiny cover and suddenly I wanted to read this story. The book was expensive though and I ended up buying it online for a much cheaper price. The book has over half a million ratings and an average rating of 4.2 currently. It even won a Goodreads prize in 2020!

I am not the biggest fan of historical fiction stories and that’s why I never gave this book a thought before despite all the raving reviews. But since February is Black history month, it was the perfect chance to pick this one up and I am very glad that I did.

A super summary of this book would be a story of twins who are separated when they are young. They’re kind of light colored so one comes back to her home town with her black daughter and the other passes for white and is trying to keep her past a secret. The story goes back and forth between them and shows how their lives will always be connected.

I haven’t read Bennet’s debut novel so I did not know what to expect from the writing style but let me tell you I was just entranced by her prose! I really got hooked after reading a few pages because I just love the way she writes. The prose is lyrical, the story follows the protagonists but each new character gets discovered at one point. It reminded me of Celeste Ng’s and Taylor Jenkins Reid style. I always find these community novels fascinating for some reason.

โ€œThe only difference between lying and acting was whether your audience was in on it, but it was all a performance just the same.โ€

The story is divided into parts, each taking place in a certain point of time jumping between the past and the present. The story can be confusing for this reason for some readers but I really enjoyed this style. The chapters are kind of long too but they are also divided into shorter scenes so there are many points the reader can stop at.

Desiree and Stella were very well written, their husbands and daughters are also fleshed out well. The neighbors and everyone in the society gets to shine too which makes this kind of a character study and as I mentioned above, I love these kind of stories. Desiree’s part was more clear and I liked it more. Stella’s part is satisfactory but I wanted a bit more from her specially toward the end. However, I think it was still realistic and that gives another angle to the title of the novel which I think is smart too.

The plot is gripping and it involves important subjects like racism and abuse. Although I flew through this, I think it can be a heavy read for some readers so keep that in mind.

โ€œYou could drown in two inches of water. Maybe grief was the same.โ€

Summary: I loved everything about this book starting with the shiny cover that caught my attention, the title which I loved more after finishing the book and more importantly is the story and its characters which discusses important things that touch upon us all whether we are black or not. I really loved this and will be checking out the author’s first book and her future books for sure!

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