Book Recommendations

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Written well, fiction helps us to see what we block in real life.  I love books that open my eyes and keep them open.  The story was riveting: I could not have “closed my eyes” because I could not stop reading. 

Indeed, the story still has me in its grip.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

In this story, Bennett explores what would happen if identical twins split ways as teenagers, following two different identity paths in the United States.  One lives her life as a white woman, and the other lives life as a black woman.  The voyage starts in 1968 and end in the 1980s.

Warning: This Is Not a Beach Read

Stella and Desiree twin through life until one fateful teenage night they decide to leave their town.  This changes their paths to where one encounters opportunity via a federal job and the other by working in a secretarial position.  

The men in their lives play a large role in their next steps.  Their choices generate compassion from the reader, and sometimes disdain, as they work out their beliefs.  I felt heartache often for the characters but also couldn’t stop reading what was going to happen next.  Reading about their children kept the can’t-stop-won’t-stop reading bug alive.

Going Deeper

Several conflicts drive the story: how well do twins live without the other? How much of their lives are similar? At one point, one wonders if they will meet again, and if so, what will they think of the other’s choice?

It is also a more broad exploration of the effect of certain decisions on our lives.  Any fans of the movie “Sliding Doors” – you’ll love this book. 

Good for Book Clubs, So Philosophically Speaking…

Do we have a choice of what life we choose or is it presented to us? Does fate control us?  Does our environment?  Or are we choosing whether we move left or right? 

To that end, what are our limits? And, I believe this story broaches the question of our time: are the answers to these questions different in the United States?

The message of this book is clear; the appeal of this book is universal.  I was constantly challenged in this book to look at what choices and definitions of myself I’ve followed in life.

You’ll want the hardback. On Amazon right now each version is within $1 of each other – this is a keeper. Find it here:


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