SECOND SATURDAY BOOK GROUP “THE VANISHING HALF”

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Date/Time
Date(s) - 12/11/2021
10:00 am - 12:30 pm

Location
Via Zoom

Categories


SECOND SATURDAY BOOK GROUP
2021-2022
Theme: Transitioning…….

Date: Saturday, December 11, 2021
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Selection: The Vanishing Half   by Brit Bennett
First published: 2020   Meeting Place: TBD
Leader: Dorie Maxwell  — doriemaxwell@mac.com or 561-301-4204.

If you haven’t recently received emails from me  about our book group activities and wish to receive a Zoom invitation for this discussion, please contact me. – Dorie

What racial identity would you give Barak Obama?  Kamala Harris?  How about Meghan Markle? When the 2020 census was released last August, it affirmed that the United States has become more racially and ethnically diverse that ever before.  While some people are feeling threatened by this increase of biracial and multiracial people, most of us are gradually adjusting to this change— we are transitioning.  But that is certainly a change from much of our country’s history.

Brit Bennett’s novel This Vanishing Half is set in the 1950s and 1960s.  It begins in the little town of Mallard, Louisiana, a community established exclusively for black residents with light skin. When twins Stella and Desiree Vignes, descendants of the founder of this unique town, were teenagers, they ran away to New Orleans. Stella soon discovers that she can pass as white, and so begins the fracture that will forever separate the twins.  This story explores the challenges that follow these sisters and their daughters because of the cultural traditions around them.

Members and friends are welcome to join our discussion— whether you’ve finished the book or not.  We will decide closer to the meeting date whether this meeting will be in person in the sanctuary or once again on Zoom.

Want to plan ahead for next month On January 8—the next second Saturday— we’ll discuss A Thousand Acres  by Jane Smiley, fiction winner of  the1991 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 1992 Pulitzer Prize. We’ll see what transitions this white Iowa farm family experiences in the 1970s.

……The Vanishing Half examines sisterhood, black identity, and parenthood with compassion and conviction. The Vignes twins grew up inseparable in the ’60s in Mallard, Louisiana, a small town reserved for black residents with light skin. Stella and Desiree Vignes are tall and beautiful, and they dream of lives beyond the lynching of their father and housekeeping for white people, like their mother does. When they flee to New Orleans as teenagers, Stella discovers that she can pass as white, and so begins the fracture that will forever separate the twins. Stella disappears in California and continues to play the part of a white woman, keeping her past a secret from her husband and daughter. After leaving her abusive marriage, Desiree returns to Mallard with her daughter, Jude, who is “black as tar.” Jude, desperate to find a place where she fits in, goes to college in California and discovers she was searching not just for herself but for her mother’s sister. Told in flashbacks and alternating points of view, this novel asks what is personal identity, if not your past. A riveting and sympathetic story about the bonds of sisterhood and just how strong they are, even at their weakest. —Al Woodworth, Amazon Book Review