The Darkest Child
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The Darkest Child

4.33 of 5 stars 4.33  ·  rating details  ·  3,367 ratings  ·  367 reviews
"Rozelle Quinn is so fair-skinned that she can pass for white. Her ten children are mostly light, too. Everyone in the small Georgia town in which she lives knows that they have different fathers. She favors her light children, but it is Tangy Mae, the darkest of them all, who is the brightest and the only one desperate to get an education. Even in rural Pakersfield they h...more
Kindle Edition, 397 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by Soho Press (first published 2004)
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Apr 05, 2008 M rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
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...more

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...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.
Monterica Neil

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...more
Kierra J,
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
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
Barks & Bites
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
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 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...more
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....more
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...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
I had to go to Atlanta to find this diamond in the rough. I'm sure I could have found this book at my local Borders, but since the story is set in Pakersfield, Georgia it made sense that his book was on prominent display.

This is Delores Phillips' debut novel, and after reading it I'm stunned at the graphic details and emotion that come out. As the story opens it is 1958, and we meet 13-year-old Tangy Mae and her mother Rozelle 'Rosie' Quinn in rural Georgia. This was a time when opportunities f...more
Stephanie Jones
Historical Fiction

This intriguing story is told through the words and eyes of Tangy Mae Quinn, an African American teenage girl who lives during a very critical time. It is 1958 in a town in Georgia, which means she is experiencing discrimination and injustice beyond belief because of the color of her skin. The only thing is that the discrimination against Tangy Mae is not only coming from the outside but also the inside. She is the seventh of ten children, and they all have diff...more
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...more

I thought this book was awesome for the most part. The book had me turning the pages through every chapter. The books talks about controversial topics such as racism, and some family problems like abuse. Although I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, I feel as if their were a LOT of characters to keep up with. Not only did I have to keep up with 10 siblings & their personality's I had to keep up with public figures, Tangy Mae's (the main character) mother's friends, M...more
Ashley Mcguffries
This was my second time reading this book. The first time, I was in my teenage years and at the time, I was more interested in romantic novels, so I stopped reading after the first few pages. As I grew older, I started to explore more areas of interest. This book was recommended to me after I read Daniel Black's Perfect Peace. I'm glad that I read this book. At first, I thought Emma Jean, the mother in "Perfect Peace" was crazy, but I think Rozelle Quinn really had her beat!

Rozelle Quinn was an...more
Family, race, single parenting, poverty
This should really be 3 1/2 stars. I bumped it to 4 stars, because it is real, in a way that I wish nothing had to be so real.

I'll need to think a little more before I review it.

Okay, I'm going to try - but, I may come back to this.

This book is raw and traumatic. Raw in a different way from Beloved, raw in a different way than Uncle Tom's Cabin. It is almost inexplicable how harrowing the entire book is. And, yet, I can't say that each character did not touch me in some way. This was almost the...more
Sainab Awokoya
The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips takes place in the rural area of Georgia in the 1950s. So far, the book is about the main character, Tangy Mae being the "darkest child" due to her biracial family. She is the only on in the family that is consider a "Negro" because of her dark skin complexion, and nappy textured hair. Tangy Mae loves to attend school, however her mom doesn't want her to continue her education instead she wants her to be a maid like herself, cleaning up after whites. Not onl...more
Mocha Girl
The Darkest Child is a powerful debut from Delores Phillips; one so strong, I think she should earn a nomination for "rookie author of the year," if such a category in literature exists. It is a harrowing saga set in the late 1950's in rural Georgia and narrated by a teenaged Tangy Mae Quinn. Tangy is child number seven from Rozelle (Rosie) Quinn, a beautiful woman who has slept with most of the men in the town resulting in marriage to no one and ten fatherless children by as many men. Rosie exh...more
Dr Author Wright, AA, AS, BS, MinB, MS, MinM, PhD, MinD, ThD
“The Darkest Child” by Delores Phillips is a well written, yet unimaginable sad story of a distraught African American family navigating through the dismal malfunctions of a segregated south during the 1950s in rural Georgia. Indeed, this story reveals somber accounts of staggering dysfunctional interactions between a confused mother (Rozelle) and one of her daughters (Tangy Mae) who happened to be the darkest among her siblings. As if the unbelievable obstacles involving southern life weren’t e...more
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...more
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
I had issues with this book. Mainly with the portrayal of the mother, who I felt was a one-dimensional caricature of the tragic mulatto. Her motivation to be so cruel to her children was not placed into a context other than that, which isn't creative nor productive. Then again, I didn't come away feeling like the book had a particular intention.

Points that I did enjoy about the book, however, were the attempt on the author's part to parallel the events in the main female character's family with...more
The title of this book and the plot synopsis on Amazon made me think of endemic racism -- that Tangy Mae would be abused and mistreated by her mother because she had the darkest skin of any of the kids. But -- no worries! -- Tangy's borderline psychotic mother abuses all of her children equally regardless of their skin tone. This book could easily have tipped over into lurid melodrama, what with ten kids and Psychomom living in a shack in rural Georgia, mom pimping out Tangy and her sisters, a l...more
Best fiction I have read in a long time.
This is an absolutely incredible novel! Author Delores Phillips does a fantastic job transitioning the reader into the unstable lives of the Quinn family. There were certain aspects of this book that was difficult to read, but I am so happy that I read this book. This is simply a well written story this keeps the reader intrigued from beginning to end.
Leela Debris
one of the most breathtaking remember-able narratives that i have ever read. While the cover and plot summery maybe a bit misleading, it is safe to say that once you start reading, and become invested you won't be disappointed. Phillips creates an environment and atmosphere in her novel that allows the reader, no matter who they are to understand that this main character has no protection or stability in her life. There is no safety-net, being a young black woman in the south pre-integration is...more
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Mocha Girls Read: Book of the Month: The Darkest Child 15 133 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?” 15 likes
“She denied and feared God in the same breath. She allowed our actions to shame her, and yet was void of shame. I truly believed there was something unnatural about her - a madness only her children could see. My yearning was not to understand it, but to escape it.” 8 likes
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