The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. 4 stars our of 5 book review.
4 Stars,  Mini Reviews

Mini Review | The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4/5 Stars – Inspired by a little known piece of history this brilliant novel explores the intersection of family, identity and internalised racism. Recommended!

Format: Kindle

Read: July 2023

I really enjoyed this, not least because it introduced me to a piece of history that I had no idea about and found fascinating, and disturbing in a way I can’t find the words for. As a white British person I had never in thought that there would be towns in American, like Mallard, where black people had internalised so much racism that they were basically breeding themselves to be white. I understand this was based on the author’s mothers experience with such a town, and I’ve since been down a bit of an internet rabbit hole!

That aside this book also had great complicated and layered characters, and really explored the intersection of family, identity and internalised racism, and the generational trauma that those things can affect. The story begins with the twins as teenagers and moves through the decades until their own daughters meet many years later.

What I didn’t think worked so well for me as the character of Reece, while its great to have a trans character, and it was sensitively handled, within this novel which is already packed with more than enough identity issues, the inclusion as a side-character just felt a bit clumsy and like we were putting a hat on a hat if that makes sense?

It wasn’t bad it just didn’t quite work for me.

The ending was also not totally emotionally satisfying for me, I (as ever) wanted the characters to have a more open and honest conversion to tell their truths to each other but we never get that. I know that the way it is in the novel is definitely more true to life.. but still, I just wanted Stella to try to really explain herself to Desiree who she had hurt so badly!

This is a great book though, my own pickiness aside! Highly recommend.

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