THE VANISHING HALF is a difficult book for me to rate. It’s an engrossing, ambitious novel that tackles many hot-button topics. Set mostly in the 1960s-1980s America, this generational drama plays out against the backdrop of key events from this period (the Civil Rights Movement, the King/Kennedy Assassinations, and the AIDS Epidemic). It’s easy to see why so many book groups are discussing it. But the more I got into it, I wondered whether author Brit Bennett took on too much (racism, colorism, domestic violence, lynching, transgender issues, class, etc.), leaving little depth. I enjoyed the thoughtful exploration of identity and mother-daughter / sister relationships, especially in the first half when the story focused on identical twins, Desiree and Stella. Though as the plot progressed, it took on a soap opera quality with dramatic reunions and contrived coincidences appealing to some readers, but not me. While I found many interesting quotes in Brit Bennett’s writing (see Quotes), ultimately, for me, THE VANISHING HALF didn't quite live up to its hype.

cknightkc's rating:
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