If you’re looking for a big ending, don’t expect it with this book. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett was decent, but I think how it ended is what makes everyone, including myself feel like… eh. I’d give this book three stars, and that’s honestly because the ending just felt disappointing.
The Vignes twins, Desiree and Stella grew up in a time where being black, and passing for white was something they could get away with. Stella was the sister who decided to change her life and live as a white woman, disappearing and leaving her family heart broken. The book moves back and forth between the sisters and their daughters lives. Stella’s daughter Kennedy is spoiled and although she has an inkling that the stories her mother’s told her about her life growing up aren’t true, her suspicions are never confirmed until she meets her cousin Jude in the oddest of circumstances.
There are tons of emotions for the characters as the story progresses. Desiree decided to “stick to her roots” and live a boring monotonous life, while Stella did the complete opposite. I got the impression that although Stella changed who she was she truly was never happy, even with all the positives in her life. Stella was always living a double life, always needing to keep up the lie until she couldn’t any longer. Desiree lived in her truth and although it was difficult she only ever truly wanted the love of her sister.
Desiree and Jude’s relationship is less strained but still holds secrets. Jude leaves their small town of Mallard, ends up waitressing and that’s where her and Stella’s relationship starts to unfold. Honestly, the secrets and how the story unfolds between the mothers and their daughters was written well, but I think the ending would’ve felt finished if Stella decided to be who Desiree always imagined. Imagine having a piece of you feel like they couldn’t be themselves, so the only option they felt they had to do was be someone different? Desiree searched for years for Stella and then out of the blue, Stella shows up and demands that her niece stop telling the truth all because Stella just didn’t want to live in the past.