The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett: A Reed Reads! Book Rec

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Where to find this book at Reed Memorial Library:

  • Adult fiction or Large print or Audiobooks
  • Call number: FIC Bennett or LP Bennett or V Bennett
  • View it on our catalog

Back with another awesome book recommendation is Anne, one of our Adult Services librarians! This month, she is discussing The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett with us.

In this historical fiction novel spanning from the 1940’s to the 1990’s, the story centers around “a family of Black women and how they navigate race, sexuality, and their own dreams in a changing country.” Twin sisters decide to go their separate ways, and the reader discovers how their paths diverge and cross over decades. For your own discretion, Anne shares that domestic violence, racism, and colorism occurs in this novel.

The Vanishing Half gives a really interesting look at race and feminism in America and how prejudice is something that we all must struggle through,” Anne describes. She further remarks, “I also really enjoyed the theme of starting over. Each of the people in this family choose to start over at one point or multiple points, proving that no matter where we think we are in life, we have the option to take a different path. I also think that this title did a masterful job of showing that whatever choices you make in life, you have to be able to make peace with them and look yourself in the mirror at the end of the day.”

The Vanishing Half is a contemporary reimagining of classic narratives like Passing by Nella Larsen and Imitation of Life by Fannie Hurst. More recently published read-a-likes include Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones, and Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson. Other post-modern film productions with similar themes include Lovecraft Country, Get Out, and Them.

Thanks for another recommendation, Anne!

For more Reed Reads! Book Recs, browse this page.

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