The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
SUMMARY: "The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect?" (Adopted from Goodreads)
What an utterly beautiful, fiercely breathtaking, powerful, powerful story.
Brit Bennett, if there ever comes a day, where we can sit down over a cup of coffee and talk about this, I will be one happy girl, but until then, allow me to gush to the Internet what your stunning story has taught me:
WITH RACISM, NO ONE WINS
In THE VANISHING HALF we see that Stella wanted so badly to live a life free of racism, but because of racism she was never actually free. In turn, her family never had the real chance to get to know her. Because of racism, Stella lost out on freedom and her family lost out on freely knowing Stella. This narrative throughout the story is one I will be reflecting on for a very long time. When we don't recognize and acknowledge and love each other without reserve, we lose out the freedom that comes from knowing that person deeply and authentically.
FAMILY BONDS ARE POWERFUL
Despite such contrasting backgrounds, Jude and Cassidy were bonded from the start. And Jude's desire to understand their familial bond was a magnetic driving point to many of her decisions. Their relationship is one of my favorites throughout the book because they exemplify how connected we all can be despite being so different.
There are so many more lessons and questions I could reflect on that THE VANISHING HALF drew up in me, but I'll stop here and lay down, with emphasis, my recommendation to read this book... but NOT if you're just looking for entertainment. Pick this one up when you're ready to learn, feel, grow, and change.
It's a beauty. And it's worth every second of reading.
SENSITIVITY WARNINGS: Death of a parent, racism, spousal abuse, homophobia, mild sexual content.
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