Brit Bennett: The Vanishing Half

I did it! And with 2 days to spare! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go back and read my frantic post from last week.

I’m still soaking in my thoughts about this book. It was simple, refreshing, interesting…kind of like cucumber water…but also like mango iced tea with a little rum mixed in. Okay, maybe not so simple, but definitely refreshing and interesting. The characters were complex and yet not complex at all. As nearly identical as Desiree and Stella were in appearance, their daughters were exact opposites in terms of looks–each taking on the skin tone of her father. Desiree’s daughter was similar in personality to Stella and Stella’s daughter similar to Desiree–not at all a surprising part of the story.

There were a lot of themes woven throughout this book, all of them discussed without much fanfare. Sisters searching for themselves; daughters searching for themselves as well as the truths of their mothers; Therese becoming Reese; an abusive husband who never finds his wife; a hunter who falls for his prey; and a twin who wants to be singular, but, more importantly, wants to live as a white woman.

I am lighter in complexion than some of my family members, and some of my family members are lighter in complexion than I am, but none of my family members could pass for white, and it intrigued me how easily Stella was able to cross into that world without ever being found out.

We generally recognize our people, no? How could no one suspect? How could it be so easy to just slip into that life and no one call her out? It’s one thing to be so light in complexion that white people accept your presence, it’s something else altogether for them not to realize that you’re not white at all. It’s beyond me.

The complexities of the characters lives, the tension, the racism, the conflict, the acceptance is so easily written in that none of it is jarring in any way. It goes down smooth. One of the things that stood out for me was that I kept reading Reese as a white boy even though it was mentioned that he was golden brown. Everyone else I could picture the way they were described, but not Reese. In my head Reese looks like Adam from Degrassi, but with dark curly hair like Dustin from Stranger Things. This is the way my mind works.

I liked it. It was a quick read once I sat down and committed to reading it through. Technically, I read about 80% of it in two days after realizing I only had 4 days to finish it and wasn’t nearly far enough into it to guess what would happen.

You know I don’t like to give spoilers so I’ll just say it’s a worthwhile read. I’m am wondering, however, how a man could so easily give up on finding his wife and child and just go marry someone else based solely on the word of a man he didn’t know all that well. He was abusive, so I didn’t actually want him to find them, just something else I wonder about.

What’s next? I guess I should go finish Parable of the Talents huh? But I also have that pile of books I bought for my birthday…if you can consider 3 books a pile.

Anywho, let me know what your January read is going to be!

Until next time…

Happy Reading!

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