by Brit Bennett
Reviewed by Linda:
This literary bestseller tells a fictional tale that has occurred unknown numbers of times throughout American history. Start with an African-American family and a member of that family who discovers he or she can pass as white and escape a future of racism and limited opportunity. Then add the legacy of sorrow and anger for the family that is left behind, the anxiety and guilt afflicting the one who leaves. Brit Bennett very successfully draws on this powerful emotional plot by imagining twin girls raised in rural Louisiana in the 1950s. Desiree and Stella are light-skinned sisters growing up in a town of African-Americans who themselves are aghast when anyone marries someone with truly dark skin. An opportunity comes for Stella to cross the color line and she takes it. She ends up in Southern California, married to a white man and has a blond-haired daughter with him. No one in her wealthy neighborhood suspects her background. Desiree and their mother remain in their small community where Desiree is a waitress and raises a daughter who is the darkest child in town. Decades later those two cousins discover one another.