This week’s review is The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. One of my favorite ways to rest is by curling up with a good book. Like movies and music, all genres appeal to me, and I give all books a chance to be ‘heard’!
Brit Bennett's 'The Vanishing Half' was an even balance of #culture and #gender conflicts. The characters' stories keep the reader engaged and eager to read. #brandisbookcorner #beingfibrom #bookreviews Click To Tweet
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half was an even balance of culture and gender conflicts. The characters’ stories keep the reader engaged and eager to read.
Desiree and Stella Vignes are twins living with their mom in the small, close-knit community of Mallard, Louisana. They seem content and well-adjusted girls despite witnessing the brutal death of their father at the hands of a group of white men at the tender age of eight. Seemingly content, that is, until the girls run away to New Orleans to start life over when they are just sixteen.
For a year they live together in a cramped apartment working at the local laundry mat and scraping what money they could to live. One day Desiree comes home to find Stella gone with no explanation and without a trace. This is the first time in their lives the twins have been separated and Desiree isn’t quite sure how to get along without her.
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Eventually, Desiree finds herself working as a fingerprint analyst for the FBI in Washington, DC. She meets a handsome man and starts a family. Ten years later, Desiree realizes she can’t take her husband’s beatings any longer and, with her daughter, escape during the night. With nowhere else to go, she flees back to her hometown and to her mother.
Shortly after arriving, a man from Desiree’s past, named Early Jones, shows up. The two pick up where they left off all those years ago, and after learning of Stella’s disappearance, Early offers to help find her twin. They try for a few years, but Stella’s trace is gone. She is nowhere to be found. Desiree gives up her search and mourns the loss of her sister.
A decade later, Jude, Desiree’s daughter, gets a track scholarship to UCLA where she meets a gorgeous young man, Reese. The two become friends and are soon inseparable. Together they learn to overcome their differences – her learning to love her dark skin and him adjusting to being a man after living most of his life as a girl. The two are so different yet so alike.
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During a shift at her job, Jude meets a beautiful blonde woman, Kennedy, roughly the same age as she. After discovering Kennedy’s mom is her mother’s long lost twin, Stella, Jude becomes obsessed with desperation to learn anything and everything she can about this mystery aunt she’s only heard stories about. How is this very white girl related to her as dark as she is? She’s mystified by it and is determined to learn more.
The more Jude learns about her mother and long-lost aunt, the more she learns about her history, where she comes from. The story climaxes as Stella’s story unfolds and her secrets to her disappearance slowly emerge to the surface. Each of them – Desiree, Stella, Jude, Kennedy, Reese, and Early – grapple with their pasts in an attempt to live in their present lives. And how all their lives come together in an unforgettable way is bewildering and impactful.
After appraising reviews of this historical fiction, I was eager to read The Vanishing Half and dive into the world of the Vignes sisters. It was an engaging story with a sprinkle of intrigue, controversy, and love of family. It held my interest. Until the end.
I was excited to read how the story ends. I fully anticipated one ending (I won’t say what so as not to spoil the plot) but got quite another. Honestly, I was disappointed and a little angry about how it ended. It was though the author wasn’t quite sure how to end it, so it ended abruptly and in a hurried lackadaisical sort of way. For this reason, I gave the novel three stars. HOWEVER, I do recommend giving it a read. You may like the ending better than I do.
Exclusive video with Brit Bennett
Book of the Month Club
I enjoyed books so much that I joined the Book of the Month Club to continue receiving the latest and greatest books via mail. Some of the books are exclusive to BOTM club members a month prior to their official publishing date! Each month I’m excited about the monthly selections, and it’s tough to select just one. (And when I can’t decide on one, I can add additional books for a small add-on charge and – as always – shipping is included in the monthly membership fee.) Can’t find one you want? That’s okay, too! Skip a month, pocket the credit to spend next month, and you won’t be charged for that current month.
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Book Ratings and Reviews
Each book I review is based on my opinion. This does not mean you will agree with the review or love/like/dislike the book, too. There’s a quote that says, “No two persons ever read the same book” by Edmund Wilson, and it’s quite true!
Do you have a book to recommend? I’d love to hear about it! Contact me.