Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half was one of the most highly anticipated novels of 2020 — and not just by me, though I was certainly looking forward to it after reading her debut novel The Mothers a couple of years ago. Sometimes, when I’m really anticipating a book, I’m almost hesitant to actually pick it up. I’m afraid reality won’t meet my expectations (as with The Book of Longings). I am pleased to report The Vanishing Half more than lived up to expectations. In fact, it was almost a 5-star read for me… more on that later.
In Bennett’s second novel, her writing once again shines. She creates complex, interesting characters and vividly draws the world they live in. It’s the story of the Vignes sisters — identical twins — who grow up in a town called Mallard, a community made up entirely of light-skinned Black people. These sisters are so light they could pass for white. And one of them, Stella, decides to do just that. She leaves her twin sister Desiree behind and their lives diverge from there. Stella marries a white man who never knows her family; together they have a daughter named Kennedy. Desiree marries a dark-skinned Black man and gives birth to a daughter, Jude, who is the spitting image of her father. Stella's decision is complicated and its effects are profound.[Read more...] about The Vanishing Half + Lemon Cake with Vanilla Frosting