Reviews tagging Sexism

The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett

35 reviews

vasha's review against another edition

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mysterious relaxing medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

This book started out not bad; the first few chapters are a depiction of the 1950s/1960s in Mallard, a very small Louisiana town inhabited by Black people who are obsessed with light skin; they introduce Desiree and Stella, twin sisters whose identities are tangled up in each other. The writing style is pleasant and unobtrusive and the story keeps moving forward. Desiree  is the protagonist of the first section, and she makes for a pretty passive one. I wish we'd seen more of her interactions with her daughter Jude (she shocked Mallard by bringing home a very dark child); that would've been about the most interesting thing about her. Her boyfriend, a traveling bounty hunter, is possibly my favorite character in the book, though, and there are some nice bits about their cautious relationship and Jude's ambiguity about accepting him. Stella, who decides to become white and hide her origins, comes to the fore later in the book; she's very unpleasant, but at least compelling to read about!

As the book went on, I liked it less and less. It's not much of a work of historical fiction: the author only evokes the most obvious, familiar cultural touchstones in the journey from the 1950s to the 1980s. And some things struck me as anachronistic. For example, some young people in the 1980s are shown unselfconsciously using the word "Negro." They were born about the same time as me; the author's twenty years younger, so let me correct her: that word was already antediluvian in the 80s. The cast of supporting characters, too, is stock, as are details of the life of a bored housewife or of a college student (frankly, the latter is completely unbelievable). 

Now, the one thing that bugged the holy hell out of me: the depiction of Jude's boyfriend Reese, who's a trans man. There is practically not one page he appears on, where him being trans, and things about his transition, aren't mentioned, and everything he's depicted doing is in relation to that. I eventually started a "drinking game": oh, Jude's going to apartment-hunt with Reese, or talk to him about her mother, or whatever; will the author bring up Reese's surgeries, scars, etc.? Yup.... This is objectivization, maybe fetishization, whatever, not good. 

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audreychu's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional informative mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25


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caitlinderocker's review against another edition

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emotional mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5


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quinn12_'s review against another edition

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emotional mysterious reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75


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hayleygray's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional hopeful informative mysterious reflective sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

This book was different to anything that I have ever read before and I think it is something that a lot of people should read. I learned a lot from this book about the varying experiences of people of colour and the racism within communities. Bennett's writing is intriguing, heart-felt, honest and raw – which is what made me really like this book. There was no avoiding the issues at hand here: it was stated clearly and boldly... it was the life lived by millions of people. 
I highly recommend this book! 

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radfordmanor's review against another edition

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challenging dark hopeful mysterious reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.25


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erynelle's review against another edition

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emotional mysterious reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.0


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delphine_'s review against another edition

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challenging emotional reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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laurendenton's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging emotional reflective tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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erinkabez's review against another edition

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challenging dark emotional informative reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated

4.0

Holy moly! This book took me through a whole roller coaster of emotions! The writing style was very elegant and smooth, however, I struggled sometimes to follow the time period and point of view jumps. There were years included occasionally, but not every time the story jumped forward or back in time. The inclusion of the year at the start of a chapter more often would have made this easier to follow. I simultaneously love and hate that this book was based on a real town that the author's mother told her about. I always want to expand my knowledge in order to grow and improve, but it was also heartbreaking and infuriating to read about horrible things that were happening and some that still are. This novel shines a very bright light on a wide variety of scenarios involving racism, sexism, and discrimination. This was an incredibly powerful novel that I know I will remember forever.

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