At first, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett was not a book I thought I would pick up as I don’t often gravitate toward titles I see repeatedly reviewed by bookstagrammers and reviewers I follow on social media. However, for whatever reason, this book caught my eye and I was intrigued to see what all the hype was about.
The synopsis: The story takes place in a small town in Louisiana called Mallard where everyone knows everything about everybody. It follows two twin girls, Desiree and Stella Vignes, who are absolutely inseparable. But when the pair decide to run away at age 16, it doesn’t take very long for the sisters to lean on their own independence – ultimately losing touch with each other and reconstructing their identities as individuals.
The Vanishing Half is a compelling tale that explores the complexities of race, family ties, sibling bonds, and overall identity across multiple generations.
My review: In the beginning, I became quite invested in the relationship between Adele Vignes (Stella and Desiree’s mom) and Early Jones. A few chapters in, it becomes clear that their relationship isn’t a major plot point, but I wish Bennett would’ve continued that narrative as I found it quite captivating. I also felt that the chapters jumped around a little too much; a lot of time was spent with Desiree’s daughter, Jude, but the story as a whole focused more on the intricate relationship between the twins. Stella got her fair share of “air time,” so I think it would’ve felt more cohesive if Desiree’s perspective was equally addressed.
In addition, I felt the ending was anti-climactic. While there are still plenty of takeaways from the book overall, the second half felt a bit unfinished.
My score: 6/10
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