This book is reviewed by Vidula. To see more of Vidula's reviews please visit her Instagram page.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett focuses on the Vignes sisters, identical twins who live in a southern Black community. At sixteen, they run away from home, and soon, their lives take different turns. Desiree ends up back in her hometown with her daughter, while Stella passes for white and marries a white man. But when their daughters meet each other, their story grows complicated. I want to read more historical fiction this year, and I love family dramas, so I was really excited for this book, and it ended up being really good. The author used societal boundaries of race, gender, and color to set up many different dualities throughout the book, which tied back to the title. It was so eye opening to see the difference in how Stella was treated as a “white” woman versus how she was treated as a non white woman; the limitations of race were explored in a really meaningful way. I also loved the discussion of colorist in the Black community; it was heartbreaking to watch a darker skinned character struggle with her body image. The author also did a great job talking about gender roles, and the presence of a trans character made this discussion more inclusive. The story was gripping, and I loved the sense of dramatic irony throughout, since there were so many times the reader knew more than the characters. I would have liked to see more drama, and the ending left some questions unanswered, but other than that, I really enjoyed it! If you like historical fiction, definitely give this one a try! I would give it a 9.5/10!