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Publisher's Summary

A new edition of this award-winning modern classic, with a new introduction

In 1958 Georgia, the shade of a 13-year-old black girl's skin can make the difference in her fate. Tangy Mae is the smartest of her mother's 10 children, but she is also the darkest complected. The Quinns - all different skin shades, all with unknown fathers - live with their charismatic, beautiful, and tyrannical mother, Rozelle, in poverty on the fringes of a Georgia town where Jim Crow rules.

Rozelle's children live in fear of her mood swings and her violence, but they are devoted to her. Rozelle pulls her children out of school when they are 12 years old so that they can help support her by going to work - as domestics, as field laborers, or down at "the farmhouse", where Rozelle takes her oldest daughters to turn tricks for her.

Tangy Mae has been offered the opportunity to apply to an integrated high school and might even have the chance to graduate if she can somehow avoid her sisters' fate. Can she break from Rozelle's grasp without violent - even fatal - consequences?

©2004 Delores Phillips (P)2018 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My heart couldn't take it

If you could sum up The Darkest Child in three words, what would they be?

Never knew I could feel so deeply for fictional characters. Beautiful Heart-aching story line. Some days, I didn't know if I could continue after every heart-yearning tale, but I had to finish. By far one of my new favs!

What did you like best about this story?

The details, the way it was written. It all was so poetic and well told.

What about Bahni Turpin’s performance did you like?

I love her dedication to each one of the characters. Her voice was a pleasure to listen too. Only she could deliver their heartbreaking stories with a voice that soothed you as it told tales of dark times.

If you could take any character from The Darkest Child out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Tangie May, her composure throughout the story amazed me. I would love to meet her and look her in her eyes. I could only imagine if hers were my own.

Any additional comments?

Cant wait for #2. Thank you Phillips for telling this story, it needed to be heard. best & light -J

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wow

What a story! I want more, but the author is deceased. Excellent performance by Bahni Turpin.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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This story still blows me away!

I first read this book when it was released 10 years ago. It was a page turner and I have recommended it over the years. Dolores Phillips captures the pain, suffering and triumph of Tangie May and her family in a way that you never forget the Quinns. Bhani Turpin’s narration is wonderful and allowed me to experience this novel in a totally different way. Such an amazing work of literature!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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What a Book!!

I think I’ve went through 1,000 emotions listening to this book.. Its a must read/listen & you won’t be able to stop it once it begin. I just want to find Tangy and cry, hold but most important love her and all her siblings.. Great book!! This must be turnt into a movie..

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Amazing!!!!

This is another book that has followed me around. I would always get recommendations to read this book from Goodreads and Amazon but I figured I wouldn't like it. It just wasn't my type of book. But something in my gut kept me coming back to this book & the book popping up around me. I put it on my goodreads "to read" shelf and my Amazon "wishlist" and left it there...FOR MONTHS! Well, in 2018 for my goodreads book challenge I decided I would be more open to read books from authors I've never read, different genres of books and step more out of my reading comfort zone. So with that being said, I purchased a book that I feel is quite possibly the best book I've ever read in my life. I don't think I've ever felt this strongly about a book ever. This book has pulled every emotion from me. I've been so sad and hurt. Happy and downright pissed! The mother in this book, Rozelle is something else and that's putting it nicely. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what she is because she is a mixture of many toxic & vile things. She is manipulative, evil, a low down sad excuse of a woman and a terrible example of what a mother is and should be. The things these kids and young adults have had to endure at her hands is inexplicable. She constantly did things to make her kids hate her and want to leave her but she never wanted them to leave her even though she seemed to hate them. The sad thing about Rozelle is that she is one of those types that never experienced love from her mother so she just continued the cycle. This book although fictional is very realistic, raw and somewhat graphic in it's description of certain scenes. When talking to my hubby discussing it he would ask, "are you sure this isn't a true story, It's way too believable to not be?" This book was AMAZING! It was so well written and put together. I am saddened that I will never know what will happen to Tangy Mae and the rest of the Quinn children and even Rozelle since the author Ms. Phillips passed away in 2014. I have so many questions like: where is Sam? Did Crow ever go see about Tangy? Did Tangy go to college or get a job? How did Mushy react when she found out Tangy & Laura were gone? Is Rozelle really crazy or faking it? How are Harvey, his wife and baby? How are Martha Jean, Velman and the girls? How's Wallace? And who the hell are all their daddies? I strongly believe that Mr. Groden, Mrs. Zadie's husband is his dad. And lastly the narrator for this book was awesome! She captured every character and was distinctive in her voices where you knew who's voice belonged to who.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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The Darkest Child

I don't know how I stumbled across this book but I am glad I did.
There are elements of the story that I could identify with. My mother's family is from Dublin, Georgia. My grandmother had very light skin with blue/grey eyes. These attributes were very prized and were frequently referred to with great pride. My grandmother could have "passed." She married her cousin, who was an red boned man with straight hair and a widow's peak in the center of his hairline. The genetic lottery did not give my grandmother's children "good hair."
My grandmother's surviving son, in a family of two boys and four girls, married a dark skinned woman that she always called "that little black gal."
When I was a little girl my mother, who had hazel eyes, would regularly tell us that "your Mama is almost white."
I mention all this to say that I could identify with Rosie's ways.
She was beautiful and cunning. She was narcissistic and everyone fell into line because they were afraid of her tantrums. They loved and hated her but irrationally wanted to protect her despite her cruelty.
The story was difficult to listen to because Rosie was a contemptible person. The narrator did a spectacular job capturing the nuances of a person whose beauty and wits allowed her to survive when an uneducated Black woman in the South had few options.
I didn't like Rosie and how she cajoled and contaminated her children with her self-centered behavior and mental illness but I knew people like her. And I simultaneously loved and hated them.
This is not a happily ever after story but it well written and superbly performed by the narrator.




3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Beautifully Painful....

I loved this book! A twist at every turn and a burning determination in every child

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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First Novel

This is the authors first novel. The story is full of traumatic events. None of which move the story along. The story reads almost as if the author chronicled the most horrific events form the childhoods of her family members. There were areas of character identities that where underdeveloped. I didn’t understand the protagonist anymore by the end of the novel as I did in the beginning. By the end, I found myself disliking the protagonist. Primary because the ‘sins’ she’s commits are with out purpose or retribution.

I wish the author would have created a identity for the protagonist outside of the experiences of others. Situations occurred that directly impacted others, retribution ricocheted on to her; she collected the rem-nits. An identity development out of her pain would have been better than the identity this novel leaves me believing her to have.

Due to the historic realities mentioned in the novels, I would have liked to read/hear about countering and realistic positions on those realities. The positions presented feel passive and sugar-coated. Some of the situations or circumstances that the protagonist finds her self in can only occur in the time period this story is placed in.

I will read the others, I hope to connect with the protagonist in a way I didn’t in this novel.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Wow!!!

I read the reviews for this book and one just said WOW and I truly think that sums it up!I cried and laughed but I mostly just said wow !

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Enjoy reading

Well written......some parts were hard to imagine. The author captured the pure complexity of life in the south in 1950’s. Would have loved to see how the author would have developed the next the book

1 of 1 people found this review helpful