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Book Review by Jana Fort
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
The Vanishing Half is a New York Times best seller, a Good Morning America Book Club pick, and was named Best Book of 2020 by The Washington Post, People, and Time Magazine. When I saw how great the reviews were, I thought maybe I should check out what all the buzz was about for myself.
The story centers around identical twin sisters, Desiree and Stella. They run away from their small rural home in Louisiana and end up in New Orleans, but eventually they go their separate ways. After fleeing an abusive marriage, Desiree returns home with her young daughter. Stella, on the other hand, marries a wealthy man and lives in an expensive neighborhood, raising her own daughter. The novel picks up a few years later when Desiree’s daughter, Jude, goes to college in Los Angeles on an athletic scholarship. Meanwhile, Stella’s daughter, Kennedy, becomes an actress, against her mom’s wishes. The two girls’ lives intersect at a party and they start spending time together. Jude realizes that they are cousins, but Kennedy has no idea. The next part of the story offers several twists and turns that will keep you reading page after page. It is a story about family, racial identity, trying to hide your past, and finding out what really matters in life. The story does jump from one person to another and across different time periods in history, but I found it easy to follow. It was a great story and I really enjoyed it.