Book of the month: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Hiya, and welcome welcome welcome to another book of the month. This time, it is the absolutely brilliant book by Brit Bennet, titled "The Vanishing Half". This book examines the story of sisterhood, identity, race, motherhood, colorism, in such an intricate and convincing manner. Basically, it tells the story of Stella and Desiree Vignes from Mallard, Louisiana. See, Mallard is a [fictional] small, unknown town reserved mainly for light-skinned black people. Yes, you read that right. After growing up together in this town, sisters, Desiree and Stella  run away at sixteen and they take very divergent paths that make the whole book. Many years later, one sister having first married the darkest man she could find, is back in town with her daughter. The other is secretly passing for white with a white husband that knows absolutely nothing about her secret. As we start to see how the lives of their progenies diverge because of the choices Desiree and Stella made, we learn a whole lot about identity, race, prejudice, passing for white, colorism, friendship, and love. 

This book is pretty much what you call a masterpiece. And I have come to realize that it's not just the story that makes a novel a masterpiece. It's everything that goes into it. It's the building of characters so real they could have jumped out of the pages to have coffee with you. It's the ingenious writing tool she employs. It's how she nails down the psychology of varying emotions the characters have so convincingly. She is in a nutshell, a fantastic writer. 

Endings are always so tricky. Oftentimes, I find that endings of many novels feel rushed. Like the author, tired of poring endlessly over this novel, suddenly ups and gives up. This one was not so bad, as in some sense this was the best ending she could give. The only thing I would say is it felt like [redacted to avoid spoilers] was forgiven too easily, but then again what else could they have done? Okay this next sentence contains spoilers: I also think knowing what we know about [redacted's] child (given how spoilt, entitled, and dare I say WHITE she was) there is just no way she would agree to keep everything a secret like so. This entirely departs from her character in many ways. And maybe it's a thing where later down the line, she gets drunk and spills her guts. But we will never know :)

My point is there were a lot of unanswered questions. And for a book about twins, it surprisingly had very little about the twins themselves. I didn't mind at all but I can see how someone could feel a little...duped? I think the jump across years confused me a little as well, because there was a lot of jumping both forward and backwards and to have to keep flipping pages back to see what decade we were in was a little irritating. I also think there were some this-is-so-crazy-its-unbelievable moments in the book, but I quite appreciated the creative license she took with some of the dramatization. It is fiction after all. But not every writer could get away with it. Or perhaps not every writer is good enough to get away with it.

In a nutshell, The Vanishing Half is one heck of a book and you should, must absolutely read it; if not because of how incredibly thought-provoking it is but because of how enjoyable it was to get a peek into the lives of the characters Bennett built. Because while you probably would never want to live it, you most likely would enjoy watching it. 

As always if you read this book, let me know what you think or even if you didn't, still let me know what you think. Want more details about the books of the month? Let me know. Want less details? Let me know too. Want both? Well, get a grip, sweetie haha. See you next month and because we are so close to the end of January, I already know what February's book of the month will be. I am excited about it!




  1. We reviewed this one and one half of us read it when it was at its peak and i read it afterwards. She loved it but I think that I was victim to reading after the hype so i appreciated how well written it was, especially since I always thought her debut (the mothers) was a bit amateurish. I always say that I prefer the story of the mothers but the writing was better in vanished half!

    1. Funny, I actually read it after the hype except it wasn't until after I had read it that I knew there was in fact some sort of hype surrounding it. I don't even think I had heard of her before Lol