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The Vanishing Half
The Vanishing Half: A Novel | Brit Bennett
From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white. 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. Ten 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. As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.
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DMC_run8
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Pickpick

Desiree and Stella are twins born and raised in Mallard, LA, a town where the lightness of one's skin is prized. At 16 the girls flee the confines of their small town and head to New Orleans where one of them disappears. The story follows the trajectory of Desiree and Stella's lives after their separation. 4⭐️

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5feet.of.fury
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Pickpick

This book was wonderful. I feel that it will be and/or should be stuffed into American Literature coursework immediately. A nuanced look at race, colorism, classism, generational trauma, LGBT issues, what it means to be family and generally how people make their way in life.

Spoilers/my thoughts on the ending in the comments

5feet.of.fury I‘ve seen a lot of negatives re: the ending, and while I would have liked more closure, I think it‘s fitting: Stella sitting on her MOAS disconnected from everyone because that‘s what she did to have “a big life” but did she? While she wasn‘t a villain, she did have some moments of villainy, her daughter didn‘t know her, her husband didn‘t understand her, keeping everyone at arms length to protect her secret. 2w
jlhammar Agree! Great book. 2w
18 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Outofcontroltbr
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Pickpick

I really enjoyed this story although I‘m a bit disappointed in the ending. All in all an interesting read with many twists and turns. It was hard to put down once I got into it.

5feet.of.fury I‘m starting this today and saw a lot of reviews are meh on the ending 😩 2w
Outofcontroltbr It‘s still a really great read and maybe there will be another book but I still really enjoyed it. I hope you do too ☺️ 2w
5feet.of.fury @Outofcontroltbr well, I finished it in 1 day 😅 2w
5feet.of.fury I would have liked more closure but I‘m ok with it 2w
Outofcontroltbr @5feet.of.fury 😀 2w
4 likes5 comments
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erickahhh
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Pickpick

Wow, I loved this book! It was very interesting with amazing character development. It is rare that I like every character! The story was very engaging and developed nicely. It touched on many racial and sexual minority issues that often go undiscussed

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Curvybookgirl
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Mehso-so

This was actually my pick for book club and I wasn‘t all that impressed with it sadly. I just couldn‘t warm to the story or the characters and it‘s taken me a very long time to read as a result

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Blerdgal_Fenix
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For all my Disney nerds out there!! I actually read this book. Giggled when I saw in it in the Proud Family remake #disney #disneynerd

Zuhkeeyah Is the remake good? I‘ve been nervous to watch in case they didn‘t do the original justice. 4w
Blerdgal_Fenix @Zuhkeeyah it‘s okay. I loved that particular episode with Lizzo. The series is building new stories, but I now realize Penny‘s friends are kinda toxic. 🤷🏾‍♀️ 4w
12 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Taylor
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Pickpick

It felt a little long, as I was definitely ready for it to be over before it was over, but there are some epic, dramatic moments, and Bennett does really well with working on a large, sweeping scope, lending it a cinematic, almost Bildungsroman feel.

She is also terrific at characterization. There are many strong, well defined characters. I can picture some of these people in my head with no problem.

A lot of things to be impressed with here.

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Taylor

I‘m enjoying this pretty well! To me it‘s more of a plot-focused novel, because the writing is not flourishy, but more used as a tool to tell the story. Compare this to “Luster,” for example—it‘s not like that. There are some aspects that make for an epic tale though, Dickensian almost.

I know a miniseries is supposed to come out based on this book…HBO I believe.

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zezeki
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Pickpick

Finished the tagged book, and I actually started using Bookly! I liked this book, it was an interesting read on topics that I'm not particulary familiar with. One thing that I didn't like was jumping back and forth in the narration, I've found it at times confusing and it took me out of the story sometimes. 📚📚📚

Alfoster I agree! It‘s one of those books that I liked more when it was over when I could piece it all together later! 1mo
45 likes1 comment
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zezeki
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Currently reading. 📚📚📚

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MindyK59
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Pickpick

This book was my Book Club‘s pick for this month. I enjoyed it but I was a little disappointed in the ending. The story overall was very interesting to me. It took the characters through many years of their lives and told how the decisions they made in their youth affected not only them but their children many years later.

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keepingupwiththepenguins
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Pickpick

The Vanishing Half lands somewhere between An American Marriage and Little Fires Everywhere, in terms of tone and style, with a dustier accent of historical fiction. It‘s certainly a provocative read, and one that rightfully holds a prize place in the recent wave of interrogative popular fiction. Full review: https://keepingupwiththepenguins.com/the-vanishing-half-brit-bennett/

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Creadnorthey
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Pickpick

This was just super- elegant and eloquent writing with a terrific family drama that is sweeping in its effect. Lovely!

BarbaraBB Great pic! 2mo
10 likes1 comment
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Sargar114
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Pickpick

This was a fantastic look at identity and the risks taken to find your own. I usually don‘t care for slice of life type stories, but this seemed to be so much more and was beautifully done. Theirs was my #doublespin for March

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 2mo
24 likes1 comment
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Simona
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Mehso-so

Interesting themes (gender roles, discrimination, race, racial passing …), but I expected to be blown away and I wasn‘t. Maybe the reason for that is Slovenian translation🤷🏻‍♀️

vivastory You have probably read Larsen's Passing. If not, I would definitely recommend it as VH was heavily influenced by it but not as good IMO 2mo
Leniverse @vivastory I haven't read the Vanishing Half, but whenever someone talks about it I keep thinking, "so... it's Nella Larsen's Passing, but in more words and more recent setting"? I keep wondering if I should read it anyway, just because it's everywhere and everybody's read it. 2mo
Ruthiella I liked The Vanishing Half, but I think it was also overstuffed and a little heavy handed. I liked Bennett‘s debut The Mothers more. Passing is a more accomplished and subtle novel. Very short but packs a punch. 2mo
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vivastory @Leniverse I read Vanishing Half prior to Passing & overall I enjoyed it but I had several issues with it. I remember some unnecessary as well as some underdeveloped potlines Whereas Passing was one of my favorite books of last year. I'm still recommending it a year later. 2mo
vivastory @Ruthiella I will definitely read Bennett again. I want to read The Mothers. 2mo
BarbaraBB Agree with all of the above. I was disappointed by TVH too and I loved both Passing and The Mothers. 2mo
Simona @vivastory I have and I liked it very much too (I even liked the Netflix‘ film), and maybe that comparison with Passing is a little bit unfair, because that slim book really has extremely strong expressive narrative line. That was my first book by Bennett, and I don‘t know why, but I never felt that she is author for me @Ruthiella @BarbaraBB @Leniverse 2mo
51 likes7 comments
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BarbaraTheBibliophage
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Pickpick

Such a great book group choice! We had so many topics to discuss. That said, Bennett keeps the book focused on her characters and their circumstances. She doesn‘t get preachy or too focused on all the various themes. Plus, the genetics aspect dovetailed into some genealogy reading I‘m doing right now. Wins all around!

Full review https://www.TheBibliophage.com #thebibliophage2022

CarolynM Loved this one. 2mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage @CarolynM Yes! I need to go back and read her debut now. 2mo
CarolynM Yes, you really do🙂 2mo
93 likes4 stack adds3 comments
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Smrloomis
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Pickpick

I‘ve finished… and still don‘t know how I feel about it exactly. Some parts I was completely engrossed by and some not so much. Very curious to see how the TV adaptation turns out!

Taylor You gonna watch this? 4w
Smrloomis @Taylor I definitely want to! What about you? 4w
Taylor @Smrloomis Maybe. I guess I‘ll decide when it comes out. 4w
79 likes1 stack add3 comments
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Smrloomis
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Huh. I‘m half way through and still have somewhat mixed feelings. Let‘s see how it ends…

she.epeolatry Yea … sigh 3mo
Smrloomis @she.epeolatry 🤷🏻‍♀️ Maybe it‘ll make for good discussion/debate but yeah… still undecided on this one! 3mo
she.epeolatry I am very curious as to how this will translate on HBO ( there‘s a show coming). This book was not at all about what was advertised and it didn‘t really address the multiple and unnecessary subplots. I would love to read a book about what the synopsis says this book is. If you find one, please share😭 (edited) 3mo
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Smrloomis @she.epeolatry I‘m also interested to see how the adaptation will come out. I‘m wondering if it might actually be a better version somehow. Let‘s see 🤔 3mo
Taylor @she.epeolatry What‘d you think it was going to be? I mean what‘d the synopsis say? I didn‘t read any synopsis, I just read it based on the cover lol. 4w
Smrloomis @Taylor the cover is beautiful no doubt. But I thought we would spend more time with Stella and see more of how she thought about what she was doing. So I was somewhat disappointed. 4w
Taylor @Smrloomis I see. 4w
73 likes1 stack add7 comments
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Mariasimon
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Pickpick

Wow this book was so interesting. Twins born in the 1950s as black, but potentially white passing in a small town in Louisiana. Both sisters run away at 16, one to return after an abusive partner, one to identify as white and create a whole new life. Their lives eventually intertwine many years later. Their stories are told so truthfully and this book was so captivating.

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Yoricke_SouthAfrica
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Mehso-so

This was an interesting story, and a well written book.
The ending was a little disappointing.

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Simona
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Perfect reading weather 🌬🌧 and praised book … #weekendreading

Andrew65 Have a good weekend. 3mo
Simona Thank you @andrew65 Good weekend to you too❣️ 3mo
Andrew65 @Simona Thanks 🥰 3mo
53 likes3 comments
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ChantalReads
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Pickpick

This book is very well-written, and I love how fitting the title is with the overarching themes of the book. The ending, however, leaves some things to be desired, though I suppose that is kind of the point.

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Yoricke_SouthAfrica
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This book has been on my list for quite some time (Stack add, because of great reviews of this platform 😊).
Looking forward to getting into it.

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asterese
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The end of January, and the start of February turned out to be pretty busy. But I think I'm sort of free now, so time to catch up on my reading. 🙌🏻

And that includes the books I already started, the books I still have to read, and hopefully this certain new release this month. 💙

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unreal
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Pickpick

This was a fantastic look at race and family and sisterhood. Twin girls run away from their small town but the decision of one of the girls to pass as white, leaving the other behind, the changes their lives forever but family is not so easy to run away from. The writing was amazing, the story important, the subject challenging, and the transgender representation great to see. This book definitely lives up to its hype!

21 likes1 stack add
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CarolineLovesToRead
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I loved this book. I loved the unique story. I loved all the characters. I love Brit Bennett's writing style.
I didn't want the book to end.

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audreydmcgee
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Pickpick

I didn‘t want this book to end. I came to the last page and flipped back thinking I skipped pages. I wanted more from Jude and Kennedy. I needed something else from Stella and Desiree. But Brit Bennett did a brilliant job having an open ending. It makes you hope that the characters‘ stories aren‘t over.

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Tyrrhenian
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Pickpick

It took me a while to get in this book, however once I did, I cared about the characters.

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notreallyelaine

You shouldn‘t tell people the truth because you want to hurt them. You should tell them because they want to know it.

3 likes1 stack add
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Liz_M
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Pickpick

Bennett writes about a complicated situation simply. The story is told through many different viewpoints and while it could have been soap-opera dramatic the it feels true. But, the problem with a multi-view, multi-generational work is how to end. This just petered out; it stops rather than concluding, which I appreciated and yet was disappointed. Very well-written but I expected more - I wanted to feel more, to think more, to be surprised. 3.5⭐

BarbaraBB I assume you‘ve read Passing. That was so much better don‘t you think? 5mo
43 likes1 comment
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CarolineLovesToRead
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My boss gifted this one to me for Christmas and it has me hooked like Where The Crawdads Sing did.

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Liz_M
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My last completed book of 2021 was A Burning and the first book I need to read (for bookclub) is The Vanishing Half.

#lastfirst @BookNAround

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rather_be_reading
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Still going...

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rather_be_reading
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NYE vibes + fire in the fireplace + pizza for dinner

IMASLOWREADER pizza sounds good…happy new year 5mo
corireadslife Oh I have that on my bookshelf!! Can‘t wait to hear what your thoughts are. Happy New Year 📖 5mo
59 likes2 comments
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rather_be_reading
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Book 275

43 likes1 stack add
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BacklistReader
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Pickpick

My sister picked this one for our family book club and it was amazing. I highly recommend it.

I love having a book club with my Mom and Sister. Best idea ever! I‘m excited to see what we pick up in 2022.

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babyruth2510
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Pickpick

4.5⭐️ I really enjoyed this book. The themes of identity and figuring out who you are hit hard. Great #LMPBC pick as it sparks many discussions. I hope you ladies enjoy this as much as I did.

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BookBosomed1
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Happy #JolabokaflodSwap! Thank you, @Ericalambbrown . I‘m so excited for the books you sent me (thanks for the bonus book!) & these chocolates. Fun fact: I lived in your current town for 8 years while I went to school for my Bachelor‘s and Master‘s degrees. The land of my birth is about one hour south of where you live now. Small 🌎! Thank you @MaleficentBookDragon for hosting. Not pictured: the toffee and caramels my partner & I already devoured

monalyisha Ohhh, pretty wrapping @Ericalambbrown! And what a fun geographic coincidence! Happy holidays! ✨❄️ 5mo
BookBosomed1 @monalyisha @Ericalambbrown did a marvelous job of wrapping. The entire package was very aesthetically pleasing. 5mo
Ericalambbrown @bookbosomed1 Oh, wow!! It is a small world! I am a Bear as well! I live just north of Springfield about 20 minutes now. That candy shop used to be Richardson‘s Candy House but their daughter took it over a few years ago and renamed it BonBon‘s. And I am so glad y‘all liked the extra treats. I love making those at Christmas 5mo
Ericalambbrown @monalyisha Thank you!! 5mo
26 likes4 comments
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Lizwarnerpdx
Pickpick

This book was not what I expected. I hadn‘t heard of light-skinned black towns or passing as white. I enjoyed how the twins paths diverged as they went their separate, segregated ways - but how their daughters found each other and found ways past that. All the women lived such different lives.

3 likes1 stack add
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ICantImReading
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Mehso-so

⭐️⭐️⭐️

I realize this is an #unpopularopinion, but I had expected to enjoy this more. There were thought-provoking themes and some touching parts, but the way the story jumped around felt disjointed and the omniscient narration made me feel distant. 🎧

26 likes1 stack add
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Lauranahe
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Pickpick

I really liked this! I was so involved in the story that I didn‘t mark it up much. 😔 I‘d read a bunch of Ives then realize I hadn‘t stopped to do anything, much less write anything. It‘s a story of twin sisters and their lives as they make choices and live with the consequences over several decades. Very moving and thought provoking. #lmpbc

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yourfavouritemixtape
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Today could be worse. I love sunny autumn days. Reading the tagged book for my english bookclub. Don‘t know what to think about it yet.

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bekakins
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Pickpick

Really enjoyed my book club read for October… so unusual take on an important subject.

Also week 1 #Scarathlon2021 scores (inc readathon hrs for #bookspinbingo)🎃
Early Bird +51
Americanah +35
Southern Book Club +91
7 Husbands +66
Vanishing Half +56

Total : 299 pts
#TeamHendrix

StayCurious Great job! 8mo
14 likes1 comment
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LapReader
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Pickpick

Glorious golden hour at the beach. I watched out the window for a relatively quiet time as I am only just double vaccinated and still a scaredy-cat of covid. It is going to rain all week so I just couldn‘t bare to stay inside. This book has surprised me a couple of times already and I am only a third of the way in. I am reading it for my new book club. This month will be my first meeting not on Zoom and we are having a picnic with cocktails.

CarolynM Loved this! Enjoy your cocktails😘 8mo
49 likes1 comment
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ZeallyGreen
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SnowEcho
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Pickpick

Gripping read. Took me awhile to figure out what was happening when the author jumped around. Less on character development, more on the pain of living life and making choices. Definitely have questions as to what happened to many of the characters and also what the characters end up knowing or not knowing.

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rachelm
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Saturday morning and all three kids are reading or playing nicely together!! It‘s a miracle! I‘m finishing this one for book club Monday. I bought it when it came out and am happy to finally have a reason to bump it up the TBR

marleed It‘s such an interesting bc book. There are so many directions for conversations to go. We ended our bc saying - oh, we didn‘t even discuss this, and this, and oh yeah this… 8mo
rachelm @marleed and we only have an hour because it‘s a lunch hour one! I‘m super curious what we‘ll have time to get to 8mo
39 likes1 stack add2 comments
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candc320
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Pickpick

This one is definitely between a “pick” and a “so-so” for me. I think it‘s more of an issue with me not being able to concentrate on the audiobook then anything against the writing, but I just found it somewhat underwhelming given the hype. Definitely a thought provoking and captivating topic…I think I‘ll try to read a paper copy as well to see if I enjoy it more. 🌟🌟🌟

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mackelie
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Pickpick

Stella and Desiree are identical twins. Stella lives her life passing as white and has created a new identity for herself while Desiree returns to Mallard with her daughter. At some point, both daughters meet living very different lives due to their racial identities.

I couldn‘t put the book down while reading it but the ending was a bit underwhelming. I didn‘t connect to any of the characters and big aspect of the book were the daughters‘ lives

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Peaslady
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Pickpick

This story hangs off such a complex construct - separated twins, one who chooses to live as black, the other white - and the impact this has on their lives and families. And yet it flows brilliantly and allows Bennett to explore race and racism with an almost side-by-side comparison of experiences where the only differentiator is self and others‘ *perception* of race (not even the colour of their skin). Very powerful.