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The Vanishing Half

A Novel
Written by: Brit Bennett
Narrated by: Shayna Small
Length: 11 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Number one New York Times best seller

A Good Morning America Book Club Pick!

"Bennett’s tone and style recalls James Baldwin and Jacqueline Woodson, but it’s especially reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s 1970 debut novel, The Bluest Eye." (Kiley Reid, Wall Street Journal)

"A story of absolute, universal timelessness... For any era, it's an accomplished, affecting novel. For this moment, it's piercing, subtly wending its way toward questions about who we are and who we want to be.... "(Entertainment Weekly)

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one Black and one White.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, Southern Black community and running away at age 16, 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.

As with her New York Times best-selling debut, The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing pause-resister about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.

©2020 Brit Bennett (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"[Bennett’s] fiction is filled with very simple truths that are extremely wise." (Kiley Reid, Wall Street Journal)

"Not to be missed." (Harper’s Bazaar)

"Here, in her sensitive, elegant prose, [Bennett] evokes both the strife of racism, and what it does to a person even if they can evade some of its elements." (Vogue)

What members say
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Sheila S
  • 2020-06-06

Soap opera material

I was drawn to this book based on its high ratings, but it didn't live up to my expectations. None of the characters were well-developed, the plot was dependent on unlikely coincidences, and the pacing was uneven. I was occasionally engaged but more frequently impatient with the repetitious descriptions.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Trudi
  • 2020-06-11

Didn’t hit the mark

The characters never felt real to me. Lots of stereotypes. Another reviewer describes the book as soap opera material and that hit the nail on the head for me. There was always something going on but nothing much really happens. There’s no feeling of ending in the book it could just go on and on. I was happy when it ended.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Lisa Lewis Ellis
  • 2020-06-07

Wonderfully Reminiscent

I enjoyed it as much as I dreaded the story. It’s an all too familiar story of growing up Black in America. I’m a 70’s baby, however, I too crew up in an environment where shade of black had influence. I tested up in a few places recalling my own stories. Oh, I’m dark skin or a chocolate girl.

Great read. Truthful and wonderfully reminiscent.

15 people found this helpful

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  • CJB
  • 2020-06-04

Excellent book!!

This is the first audiobook that I could not stop listening to! From beginning to end, it kept me fully engaged. I could not wait to get to the end to see how it ended. The characters were fully developed which made it a very smooth read linking the characters throughout the story. I absolutely LOVED this book and highly recommend it. Fantastic!!!

14 people found this helpful

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 2020-06-14

Sweet, Sad and totally unbelievable

I loved the story, wondering how it would turn out. I agree with some of the other reviewer’s who said it has a soap opera feel, but at the same time I could feel the characters. Some made me mad, some made me cry and some made me root them on. I would totally recommend this book and if you enjoy a real tear jerker.

10 people found this helpful

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  • E.M.Fletcher
  • 2020-06-13

Interesting...

I enjoyed the book for a couple of reasons, we there were Blacks that chose to pose as white and it was interesting to touch on the internal dialogue holding this kind of secret and how different life can turn out for you as white person vs black. As a mother of twins girls it was fascinating to consider knowing that twins can be so connected and to be torn away from your twin can leave the other feeling incomplete. I hope Ms.Brit will consider creating a movie and develop this concept of light vs dark skinned, choices, internal questions with added historical content. Overall, I was intrigued!

10 people found this helpful

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  • Roxanne Flores
  • 2020-06-11

Good book

Not intensely captivating, but kept my attention. No dull moments, each fame giving you information and parts of the pieces of the entire story. Very good description, author has a very good way of making you fall in love with words. I’m more of a thriller type book, but this story was a nice slow pace that kept me entertained. I would recommend this book.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Ntolife
  • 2020-06-14

Absolutely awesome

Never got bored listening to this gem. Good read for sure. Great narration.
Worth the credit.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Pamla
  • 2020-06-12

Boring

I wanted to love it but it never really hooked me. Disappointed.
I found myself not caring about the characters.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Damarys Geronimo
  • 2020-06-13

Destiny can be funny

Loved reading this book...destiny can be funny and seeing how these lives intertwine again is a good example

3 people found this helpful