Monday, February 8, 2021

Book we'll discuss next week

The Vanishing Half ~ by Brit Bennett, 2020, fiction
A story about the bonds of sisterhood and just how strong they are, even at their weakest.  The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical.  But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, 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.
I was 88 of 101 on the waiting list at my library for this book, which I wanted to read so I could join an online book club discussion coming up a week from today.  I joined this book club a couple of weeks ago and don't know any of the people in it, but they sent me the list of members and books chosen for the next few months.  I had resigned myself to listening to others discuss this book until an email to all the members (including newbies) arrived yesterday:
"Anyone needing this book?  I am done with my library copy.  Let me know if you want to borrow."
Yay!  I wrote back that I'd like to have it, and now the book is in my hands!  I'll start as soon as I post this.  Thank you so very much, new friend!


Helen's Book Blog said...

I really enjoyed this book and how great that you got it in time to read it and join the online book group conversation!

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Thanks, Helen. It's encouraging to know you really enjoyed this one. I'm kind of excited about "meeting" these new folks from the neighborhood — especially the one who let me borrow the book without even knowing me.