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The Darkest Child

4.35  ·  Rating Details ·  5,577 Ratings  ·  562 Reviews
“Evil’s regenerative powers and one girl’s fierce resistance. . . . A book that deserves a wide audience.”—The Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Filled with grand plot events and clearly identifiable villains and victims . . . lush with detail and captivating with its story of racial tension and family violence.”—The Washington Post Book World

“[An] exceptional debut novel. . . . [H
Hardcover, 387 pages
Published January 1st 2004 by Soho Press
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The CurvyJones
Mar 19, 2008 The CurvyJones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
This is an incredibly compelling powerful book about a young girl with dark skin and a sharp mind.

I didn't read ANYTHING on this book before I bought it. I did not want any preconceived notions about it. I must say it was a captivating read and I wish filmmakers did not butcher novels because I would LOVE to see this on screen!

Having been an Air Force brat, I grew up in predominantly white neighborhoods, went to school with mostly white kids, and lived primarily in the northern states. I can't
May 04, 2012 Camille rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heart wrenching but well written and thought out. It's hard when you know the fiction was and probably is someone's truth. Just a reminder to be grateful.
May 27, 2014 Zanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a painful story told from the perspective of a girl, Tangy Mae, who suffers terribly at the hands of her mother, a woman with many children but no long term partner to support her. Tangy recognises that 'there was something terribly wrong with our mother' but is unable to escape from her increasingly abusive behaviour, partly because she feels responsible for her younger siblings. The family's tale plays out against the background of a small town in the 1950s, mired in racism. Phillips s ...more
Nov 13, 2008 Alisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an EXCELLENT book. I say that because I felt a range of emotions as I turned the pages...rage, sadness, happiness, pity...I laughed, I cried.

In reading this book I saw through its characters different ways people learn and/or choose to survive the hardships of life. A person can go through tragedies and people can try to destroy their spirit but there always is a choice. They may not be able to choose the hand they have been dealt or control the situation but they always have the option
Feb 18, 2012 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heart breaking, Disturbing, Sad, Curious story that you just can not stop reading.

...If that is the introduction that I give it then why did I keep reading? Because this is a book you can't put down. Like the cruel, startling evening newscast that you just keep watching. Like video of an accident you know is about to happen but you can't turn away. Because I am a hopeful person. I hoped that through all that was happening something would stop the injustice, something would stop the abuse and p
Jan 10, 2016 Debra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

Whew! Wow what a book. What a beautifully written yet sad book. Why has this Author not written another book? Perhaps this was the only story she needed to tell. The writing was so wonderful and vivid that I could see/imagine what was happening. That is not always a good thing with this book as there is a tremendous amount of abuse in this book. I found that I could not read this book fast. I had to take breaks from it. This is not an easy read.

The book begins when Rozelle tells her em
The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips is soul wrenching horrendous. One would never believe that a Mother could so deeply harm a child, let alone "10" of them, emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally. Rozelle is a woman who is Pure Evil! She cares for no one, not even herself. Unfortunately, the reader never finds out why Rozelle is the way she is. She's hateful, spiteful, souless, and completely mental. She has 10 children by 10 different men. Most are as white as she is with one bein ...more
This was definitely a difficult read. So difficult that I'm not even sure whether I can say I like it or not. The content and subject matter were just so brutal and violent that I couldn't wait to be over with it. On the other hand, the writing was good so I kept reading. I cannot imagine why any mother would treat her kids the way Rozelle did --- absolutely horrific. Her children (especially Tangy Mae) are definitely survivors.
Katisha Kersey
Sep 30, 2014 Katisha Kersey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it, bookclub
Excellent read. The mystery behind the mom's mental illness was intriguing.
Dec 27, 2011 Daenel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is quite possibly one of the most disturbing books I've read. And that's why I gave it 4 stars. Any book that grab and twist my emotions is a winner. I wanted to stop reading it ~ the abuse scenes were cringe worthy. Not just the physical aspects, but the mental aspects... a part of me just kept asking myself if there are really kids who are living under these conditions and I know there are which made this story all the more compelling.

Tangy and her siblings are sympathetically writte
Barri Brown
Mar 26, 2015 Barri Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Devastating, amazing depiction of pathology both individual and social. Chronicle of family and Southern small-town society in the '50s. Incredible piece of fiction by this author who unfortunately passed away last year, this being the only book she wrote.
Kierra J,
Feb 17, 2012 Kierra J, rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can I tell you that I didn't want this book to end?! I absolutely love these sort of books! First of all, I was compelled to read it because I kept noticing it in searches for books. The title and the cover can also be credited for drawing me in. For some reason it was relatable even though my family is nowhere near as dysfunctional as this one. The book deals with topics like an unfit mother who struggles to survive by any means, lack of self-esteem, poverty, racism, etc. This book is not for t ...more
Sep 03, 2010 Pamela rated it it was amazing
Reading the "The Darkest Child" by Delores Phillips for the 2nd time was so much more revealing than the 1st time go-round. It was so much more detailed and graphic than the 1st. It wasn't that they weren't there, I was just more aware of the content than I was before. Ms. Phillips does a wonderful job of characterizing a mother whose not only disfunctional within herself, but possessive of her children and afraid that they will leave her. "The Darkest Child" - Tangy Mae - is so courageous and s ...more
Sep 22, 2012 Adrien rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No matter how many times I read this story, it always moves me. It will never get old. All of the characters were rich and complex. The author wove a tale steeped in fear, pain and the awful atrocities that took place during the time period in which the story takes place (rural Georgia during the 50's). I remember some of the stories my grandmother used to tell me and I can so easily relate to the times. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone that would love to read an awesome thought provoking ...more
Aug 10, 2012 Felisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Read
Aug 05, 2009 Gustine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Unbeatable plot: a truly psychotic mother raising twelve children in poverty in rural 1950s Georgia. It’s very well-written—I didn’t mind the dialect at all, which speaks volumes about the author’s talents. She uses dialect perfectly: at no point is the writing at all difficult to read, nor does it distract. I couldn’t put this down.

“‘Satan’s in here,’ Mama repeated with mounting fear in her voice. Edna started to cry, and Mama spun around to face her. ‘Shut up. You want him to hear you
Monterica Neil
Sep 18, 2012 Monterica Neil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The Darkest Child, set in the small town of Pakersfield, Georgia is the story of Tangy Mae Quinn as she struggles to love and satisfy her abusive, mentally disturbed, sexually promiscuous, yet breathtakingly beautiful mother Rozelle “Rosie” Quinn. “Mushy, Harvey, Sam, and Martha Jean were her white children. Tarabelle, Wallace, and Laura were Indians – Cherokee, no less. Edna and I were Negroes,” Tangy Mae describes the diversity of her mother’s offspring, categorized by the ethni
Apr 25, 2012 Darleane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! What a rollercoaster ride!

I started reading this book and once I got into it, I was not able to put it down. I finished most of it in one evening. With that begin said, it was so hard to imagine what she went through growing up during that time.
This book made me laugh, cry, and totally broke my heart. The main character Tangy Mae has determined to break through even though she has to deal with so much strife.
Her mother is a basketcase, even up to the end of the book she controlled her chi
A woman has ten children and beats them senseless almost every week. She takes her teenage daughters to "The Farmhouse" to turn them into prostitutes--just like herself. Her children live in a town filled with racial tensions, yet they must face worse at home.

Tangy Mae, the narrator, is the daughter who loves school and wants to figure out a way out of the town. Yet what she must go through in order to do that, at the hands of her own mother, is horrific.

Here's a dialogue between mother and dau
I read this book with my book club Mocha Girls Read and it was our selection for Black History Month. I have to say this was a hard read for me. I had a hard time getting caught up in all the craziness of the characters especially Rozelle aka Mama.

Rozelle's character is an over dominating, bipolar woman who has ten kids by ten different men from working in the "farmhouse". I was slightly disturbed by the "we know but it ain't our business" attitude the various people took regarding her abusive
Rick Slane
With an upbringing as poverty stricken as the one depicted in The Glass Castle and a mother maybe as evil as Kate from East of Eden, The Darkest Child begins in 1958 in a small segregated Georgia town. It's the story of 13 year old Tangy Mae's struggle to get an education while her mother wants her to work as a maid by day and as a prostitute at night. Many types of prejudice are on display.
Jan 20, 2016 Jaye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know where to start with this book!

It's set in 1950s Georgia where Rozelle (Rosie) Quinn is living in extreme poverty with her ten children. She's a Black woman who's light enough to pass for white; all of her children are varying shades of light skin, expect for Tangy Mae--she's the darkest (and smartest) of the children. Rosie dislikes Tangy's dark skin and she thinks she's lazy because she would rather get her high school diploma instead of dropping out to find work.

Tangy Mae tells t
Mar 14, 2008 stacia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh, how I hated this book. It was long and well-written, but there a few things fundamentally wrong with it:

a. It was relentless in its cruelty to its characters. No one had a moment's sunshine, save the deaf-mute sister who's "rescued" from the family by the much-older-than-she mailman, who immediately marries her and knocks her up.

b. It was overwritten. The narrator's supposed to be an adolescent girl and while Phillips goes out of her way to emphasize how educated the girl is, her vocabulary
Mar 08, 2014 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not put this book down. Tangy Mae and her 9 siblings live in poverty with their mother, who is abusive and mentally unstable. The story takes place in 1958 in rural Georgia. Tangy has to live and survive not only the prejudice of others, but also that of her mother. Rozelle and most of her children are very light skinned, almost white and Tangy Mae is very dark skinned. Her mother hates her for it. Rozelle insists her children work and bring the money home to her. She even forces her dau ...more
Sheena  at Hot Eats and Cool Reads
The cover of this book is absolutely beautiful to me, but I wish I could say the same for the content. Rozelle is a very evil person, called the devil's spawn by her own Mama. She is horribly abusive to her ten children and completely gets away with it. Tangy Mae is an amazing and strong girl who in my eyes, is a true hero. This book takes place during the civil rights era in the south, which makes it more real, and even harder to digest, the events that take place. This book hits a huge variety ...more
Christy Hart
Aug 04, 2007 Christy Hart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my employees suggested I read this book and I was hooked from the first chapter. This is a well-written novel of a extremely poor black family - a single mother and her children. The mother is one of the most dysfunctional and unconscious characters I have encountered in a novel. The author skillfully illustrates the lives of the children and how they watch their mother with extra attention to try and predict her moods and behavior.

My sister loved it; my brother-in-law said it was too dep
Feb 03, 2017 Kathrin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up the book at the library for the cover and the title and I am happy I did! This is a very hard book to read for the cruelty of the mother and it being situated in Georgia around the time they started to desegregate the schools. Tangy Mae is a beautiful and strong character with a drive to finish high school despite all obstacles put in her path. This is the author first and only novel so far... I really hope she'll pick up the pen again soon!
Kylin Larsson
Set in a small Georgia town in the late 1950s through the mid 1960s, The Darkest Child is the story of a family dealing with physical abuse and mental illness in the midst of town in the early, violent process of desegregation. The majority of the story revolves around a portrait of Tangy Mae, along with her nine siblings, who are at the mercy of their mentally ill mother.

Tangy Mae and her sisters survive being prostituted, branded with irons, beaten with household objects, and mentally abused.
Avi Morris
Dec 20, 2016 Avi Morris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had mixed feelings about this difficult story. Overall I liked it well enough to rate it 4 stars. For me what keeps it from my highest rating is that the story of the troubled African-American Quinn family
is that is seems like a series of connected episodes, not quite with the flow of a novel. But the episodes range between sad, to moving, to shocking with an impact that can't be ignored. The Quinn's are a very poor family living in small town Georgia in the segregated late 1950s and early 60s
Bark's Book Nonsense
This is the story of dirt poor 13 year old Tansy Mae, one of ten children born to her unstable and at times very abusive mother. Tansy's mother is black but easily passes for white and makes her living cleaning houses for rich folks and pleasing the men of the house (but she keeps this from the younger kids). Her mother expects them all to quit school and get a job to help support them. Tansy is smarter than the rest and wants to complete school but her mother has other ideas and once Tansy beco ...more
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African-American ...: The Darkest Child: December HF read 17 34 Jan 26, 2016 06:27AM  
Mocha Girls Read: Book of the Month: The Darkest Child 15 148 Jul 08, 2013 07:16AM  
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Delores Phillips was born in Georgia. She is a graduate of Cleveland State University and works as a nurse in a facility for abused women and children in Cleveland. This is her first novel.
More about Delores Phillips...

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“What good are laws that cannot be read or understood, or a tongue that spews only hatred or ignorance? What good is the written word to an illiterate man?” 26 likes
“I wanna leave here myself. But when I leave, whether it's on a bus or train or in a pine box, somebody gon' know I was here.” 13 likes
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