The Vanishing Half

by Brit Bennett, 2020

Interesting novel, interesting premise: twin light-skinned black girls (Desiree and Stella) go their separate ways, one to live as a white woman (Stella), the other remains a black woman (Desiree). Desiree is definitely the more likable character. She ends up with a daughter (Jude) black as coal and returns with her to her mother and home in Mallard after leaving her abusive husband. She is loving and loyal and misses her twin. She has a very loving second relationship with Early, a kind man who helps her try and locate Stella, unsuccessfully.

Jude moves to Los Angeles and goes to college on a track scholarship. She meet and falls in love with Reese (who used to be Therese). He is a girl trying to become a boy and the love between them is very sweet and tender but, of course, secretive. Jude cannot tell her Mom (Desiree). While working for a caterer at a party in Beverly Hills, Jude sees Stella, her Mom’s long-lost twin, and meets Stella’s daughter, Kennedy. The secret comes out eventually that Stella is black, but only between Stella and Kennedy. Stella keeps this secret from her white husband and everyone else except for Kennedy, Jude, Desiree, and Early. She lives a life full of lies.

I guess we all have secrets and secrets really keep us from living life to the full. Thank you, Jesus, that you came that we may have life and have it to the full. Without you, life is dark, messed up, secretive, full of lies, scary. With You, we have nothing to fear. You are with us even if the world rejects us. But what are we if we gain the whole world but lose our soul. You give us hope and life and light and truth.

There is no God in this book. No real hope. There is human love but if that’s all we have, that’s a sorry existence.