My rating* – 5
This book gets a 5 because I didn’t just read it…I lived it and I LOVED IT!
Set in Georgia in the late 50’s you can expect the elements of that time in history – racism, lynchings, fighting for equality – but that is all happening in the background. This story is about Rozelle Quinn or Miss Rosie, narrated by Tangy Mae Quinn her 7th and darkest child.
Tangy Mae is coming of age in time when Georgia was also coming of age. She is intelligent, she wants to finish school when finishing the 11th grade is unheard of in her family, she is curious about boys and she (like the rest of her siblings) is a victim of severe abuse. Her abuser? Miss Rosie!!!
Miss Rosie is freaking crazy. You want to look away, you keep praying for a silver lining and you continue reading because in your heart of hearts you just know it cannot get any worse, it just can’t….and then it does. And after only three chapters in you will be plotting the most painful death you can imagine for Miss Rosie’s. At least I was.
Delores Phillips delivered on this her debut novel. The plot was well-crafted and the themes were all relatable despite the extreme dysfunction. There is deep love and bitter hate existing in the same space. I mean this is the kind of story that book clubs are created for – it was chosen as this month’s pick for my club and I cannot wait to discuss this horrific yet somehow beautiful story.
Some of my favourites line were:
- “In less than five minutes our mother had taught us to never touch her metal box, and the true meaning of fear. I wondered that day if I was the only one in the room who knew that there was something terribly wrong with our mother.”
“Satan is not going to leave. The only way to get him out is to invite God in, and God is not welcome in my mother’s house.”
“I touch my scar to remind myself that I am not a coward. I am a Quinn.”
The Darkest Child is the most engrossing story I have read since Room by Emma Donoghue. I devoured it in just over eight hours and I didn’t want it to end. I wanted it to go on and on so that I could get some closure. But it when it ended it was in the perfect way. You have to read this book. You just have to. If only to come back here and discuss it.
*my personal quality ratings are the scores I give books on a scale of 0-5 based on my personal opinion of a book. 0 is “birdcage liner” and 5 is “off-the-hook good”