My neighborhood finally pulled off something we had been wanting to do since before Covid-we started a book club! And our most recent read was “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett. Before starting this book I found the entire premise of the story super fascinating as it is about a set of identical twins. As a daughter of an identical twin- I am drawn to stories with twin dynamics. These sisters grow up together in a southern black town but at the age of 16 they end up taking very different paths in life. I was interested in seeing how twins with the same exact upbringing can end up living very different lives…
However, I was ultimately disappointed in the twin aspect of the book as to me the storyline ended up focusing mostly on the daughters of the twins. The end of the story also left me feeling a little underwhelmed as I didn’t feel that there was a resolution or closure.
That said, the book was definitely thought provoking and an excellent choice for a book club with lots of discussion. In fact, I found that after discussing it with my friends who loved the book and hearing their perspective, I appreciated it more.
Have you read this book? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Here is a quick picture I snapped of the cute spread my friend did for our book club gathering.
Add it to your bookshelf here ==>
THE VANISHING HALF
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. Many 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?
Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.
You can catch up on all the past books “ON MY SHELF” here!