We (white people) should all be reading more Black authors and Black stories, especially this month, to honor an experience and history we could never imagine. The Vanishing Half is an inter-generational saga of the Black Feminist perspective throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Bennett intricately weaves together the lives of five women, spanning three generations, all a part of the same broken family. She eloquently describes how they go out into the world to find themselves and eventually find a way back to each other.
From childhood to adulthood, these women share dreams of escaping a small hometown, they love deeply and unapologetically, they lie and learn how quickly other lies pile on top to keep that first lie safe from discovery. They tell them sells they have to lie to protect themselves and their loved ones. They learn how to heal when the tower of lies they build comes crumbling down. Bennett also ventures into the mysterious connection between twins and how hard it is to keep your true self a secret from the ones you love.
Most notably, Bennett illustrates how different life is depending on the lightness of your skin, from subtle differences to horrifying realities. The possibilities of passing to having reoccurring nightmares from witnessing your father’s lynching. It is a shocking, moving, empowering story of what black women go through every day. Full of the emotional turmoil between mothers and daughters, sometimes without forgiveness. These women find themselves in their own cross-hairs, making them face the question: were all the lies worth this?
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