The Vanishing Half – by Brit Bennett – independent book review – Historical Fiction (U.S.)

A well-written, complex plot about racism and love that left me with much to ponder. Awarded four stars on Goodreads to this bestseller.

Twin girls Desiree and Stella are born into poverty in a small town in Louisiana, known as a haven specifically for light-skinned Afro-Americans. From their earliest memories, the girls are seen by everyone as “The Twins”, without individual identities. Even though their temperaments are quite distinct. And the two are exceptionally close. It’s not surprising then, when as teenagers, they carefully execute a plan to leave their hometown, together, to explore the wider world.

From reading the publisher’s description, you will know that ultimately one twin decides to pass as white, while the other continues living as a black American. The decision forces the lives of the twins in different directions as each navigates jobs, love, marriage, and motherhood.

This is a non-linear narrative over 25 years, with episodes that catch each twin at different important moments in their individual lives. And raises some complex questions, that are left unanswered. The very reason I am still pondering.

A very worthwhile and fast-paced read. I now plan to read other books by Brit Bennett.

Brit Bennett Image from her website

More about the author, Brit Bennett.