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The Vanishing Half Review

The Vanishing Half

Riverhead Books

June 2, 2020

Historical Fiction


If you could choose your race, would you? The town of Mallard, Louisiana was created for those “who would never be accepted as white, but refused to be treated as (black).” Residents are encouraged to marry and procreate with those of light skin, creating a population of only light skinned patrons. Decedents of Mallard’s creator, twins Desiree and Stella Vignes come to a split in the road of life. One leads towards a path which embraces their heritage, the other forgetting it all together.

In The Vanishing Half, author Brit Bennett’s ability to push the envelope becomes very apparent as she challenges the social divides. Identical twin sisters taking two different paths of self-identity is ingenious. She is able to allow her readers to be a part of the sisters’ victories and challenges with the understanding that life is not always greener on the other side.

This book touches on some very difficult subjects; from lynching, racism, physical abuse, sexual abuse, gender identity, and Alzheimer’s; just to name a few. Therefore, if these may be triggers for you, be forewarned. There are also many instances of profanity and the timeline jumps around a bit giving this book a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

All in all, this is an intriguing story of self-identity, family, and the choices we make. Highly recommend to someone interested in learning about those unlike themselves, in other words, everyone.


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