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The Darkest Child (2005)

The Darkest Child (2005)

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4.34 of 5 Votes: 2
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1569473781 (ISBN13: 9781569473788)
soho press

About book The Darkest Child (2005)

WARNING: THERE ARE SPOILERS!!I thought this book was awesome for the most part. "The Darkest Child" 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 personalities, I also had to jumble public figures, Tangy Mae's (the main character) mother's friends, Mushy's friends (Tangy Mae's sister) and other people, but I think you get my drift. There was a whole lot of confusion, and I often found myself turning back the pages to figure out who was who. Another thing that I felt wasn't executed properly was the topic of segregation, racism, and integration in the African-American schools. Phillip's talked about this, even had whole chapters over this, yet it wasn't important to the plot. After Junior Fess died, the big and important leader along with Hambone, These important topics suddenly weren't talked about anymore. It wasn't until the very end of the novel when Phillips brought attention back to these issues; but even then it was barely touched on. Most of the book was about Tangy Mae's crazy and abusive mother. After Tangy Mae's mother killed Judy by throwing the baby off the steps, (I thought this scene could have been more descriptive) she lies to the police about it, gets away with it, and starts acting like nothing happened. I truly thought this woman was mental and I had no sympathy whatsoever toward her. When a boy came over to the house to see Martha Jean,(Tangy Mae's oldest sister) as soon as he left the mother brutally punched her daughter, hit her constantly with a belt, and then screamed (something of this nature, but I can't remember) "why you going out and shaming me?" Just because Martha Jean liked someone, that meant she was shaming her mother? How does this make any sense? I thought the mother needed to stay in the mental ward because of her schizophrenic tendencies. Or maybe she had Multiple Personality Disorder. She probably had both and I just couldn't stand her. When I say multiple personality disorder I mean one day she is ready to kill her children (which she did anyway, twice, literally.) and the next she's laughing and singing and having a great time with her children like a mother should. At times she would be very maternal towards her children but when reading these parts I knew it would only last so long before she hits them again. Finally, the ending was terrible. Horrid. Ridiculous. Probably one of the worst things you can do to a reader, especially when you don't have a sequel, is a cliffhanger. I really didn't like Tangy Mae in the end because she fell flat and I did not like her sympathies toward her broken mother. After this, it made me uncertain about Tangy Mae's future, and I felt that it was a waste of paper. I had half a mind to rip the pages out and re-write the ending myself. I had such high hopes for Tangy Mae, though I didn't necessarily want a happy ending, I wanted a resolution, and as a reader I didn't feel like I got that. Though this review may seem very negative, I really did enjoy the book overall, and my love for certain characters and the frequent plot twists is what kept me going. I just felt the ending wasn't written well and some topics/situations weren't fully developed or explained throughout the story. I still recommend this book despite it's flaws and I hope you can enjoy it more than I did.

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 pain. This was an excellently told story. Don't get me wrong I'm not disappointed in the authors talents or the story itself at all but there were some hard pills to swallow. There is a "behind closed doors" element to this story of a family being told here and it's raw, it's ugly but I do know it's someone's true story. Somewhere. 1950's small town Pakersfield is a poor, degenerate racist backward little place that seems to breed the disfunction of it's residents. A stench of hate and ugliness lays over the town like a mist. I don't know if it's the town that's more evil or the cruel demented mind of Rozelle Quinn. I don't want to give the books secrets away but I'll state this. Rozelle is a woman with a painful past damaged so badly that she passes on her pain to her 9 children in such tremendously cruel ways that she would put Mommy Dearest to shame. This book is a culmination of the towns race issues in the 1950's and the Quinn families survival at the narcissistic hands of their insanely disturbed mother. I'd like to say this was touching and bittersweet. It wasn't. I was so mad sometimes. I just couldn't believe some of what I was reading. When you thought this nutty B**** couldn't get any worse she would. I must give it to the author for the "keeping the readers on the edge of their seat" value. You never knew what to expect. This is a wild ride. I am glad to close the book however because I have just had enough. Towards the end I remember thinking " I can't". That there just has to be relief from the pain and destruction. It's interesting that this story is being told because sometimes in the African American community and especially this generation in the story, they'd shut this type of family history up. People, burry these things, never deal with them and end up medicating, re-enacting or living as the walking dead because of past pain. My heart broke for every one of these characters. I am giving this a 5 stars. The writing was very good. You can't stop reading. The subject matter was raw. I would recommend. I would try other books by this author. Definitely good for a reading group or a discussion piece in general. 

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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 behavior toward the kids. I have found that some of it really rang true in the Black community but this book slaps it in your face. Rozelle's' best and only friend Ms. Pearl knows she is abusing her kids and does nothing but buy them a pair of white socks for their birthdays. This book is full of family drama steaming from Rozelle's crazy actions. She is the character that propels action in ever single person and sometimes lack of action. For me personally this book has too way many characters and was missing the big climax. There were so many small climaxes in this book within various circles of people involved but nothing really happened as a result of all the drama. As Oprah would say, there was no big Aha! moment for the characters as a whole or the town. This was a great first time novel for Delores Phillips but the story was interesting in parts and missing something for me as a whole.

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 becomes "of age" she's going to discover some ugly truths about her mother and her angry older sister.Tansy has a difficult life, both at home and in the outside world. She's the darkest of all of her siblings and growing up in Georgia back in the 1950's faces prejudice on a daily basis. This is her story, told in her voice and it is an excellent one that gripped me from the first page. It's heartbreaking and real and a book that isn't easily forgettable. My only minor complaint is that I wish it had gone on a bit longer but that's me being selfish.
—Bark's Book Nonsense

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 for African Americans were few and far between. Rozelle is in the midst of quitting her job as a maid and tells anyone who will listen that she is about to die. All nine of her children seriously doubt that. Rozelle would rather have people think she's about to die, than admit being pregnant with her 10th child.Now that her mother can't work, Tangy Mae is expected to quit school and start supporting the family. More than anything Tangy Mae wants to graduate from high school and break free from her mother. To some in the community Rozelle is just a single mother trying to do right. But in her children's eyes, Rozelle is a monster. Any attempt at freedom is met with abuse. Tangy Mae's older sister Martha Jean, who is deaf, finds someone to love her but Rozelle beats her into submission upon finding out. Martha Jean's freedom is granted only after her future husband -- Velman -- is able to give Rozelle a car and driving lessons in exchange. A young Tangy Mae was branded with a fire poker for questioning her mother's authority. Their older sister, Mushy, ran away because she couldn't take the abuse anymore. Tangy Mae and her older sister, Tarabelle, are forced into prostitution by Rozelle, just so their mother can keep up her expensive shopping habits. Tangy Mae's brothers are spared some of the abuse because they bring money into the household. Her brothers also try to change things in their community, but are only met with resistance from the white authority figures in town.Tangy Mae is made to believe that no one will ever want her because of her dark skin. Rozelle drilled into her children that the lighter your skin color, the more desirable you are. Whatever affection Rozelle did show, it was usually to her children with lighter skin.There are moments when it feels like this novel is preaching about the ills of the racism in the 1950s, but as a whole it's about young children trying to break free of an abusive mother. Without giving away too much, the ending left me a little empty. Within the last few pages you get the feeling that Tangy Mae and her siblings are finally going to get their happy ending. But Phillips shakes their resolve and makes them doubt their futures.

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