The Darkest Child

The Darkest Child
The Darkest Child
by Delores Phillips

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.

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*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”

8 Comments

    • April 16, 2014 / 10:46 pm

      Aww I’m honored, thank you!

      • June 12, 2014 / 11:14 pm

        It was one of the best books I’d ever read. Unfortunately, Delores Phillips has passed away. I am devastated. I too am from Cleveland, Oh and had the opportunity to meet her and discuss her book with her and a local book club. I still can’t believe it. My sister-in-law called me to tell me the news. We both had met Delores and loved ‘The Darkest Child.’ She was a wonderful person, very humble with a sweet spirit. The thing that bothers me so much is that there is no write up about her. I had to go to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s obituary column to read about her. There are no posts from her publishers or anything. Her book rated with the best. Where are her credits, her praisings. There is absolutely nothing written about her. I posted something on my Facebook page and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet this phenomenal writer. Rest in peace, beautiful Sister Delores. Thank you for giving us this wonderful book. – Sister Ife

        • June 12, 2014 / 11:22 pm

          This makes me very sad. I just sad an obit for her. She died on June 7th. I’m so happy to have discovered her book. May she rest in peace.

    • June 12, 2014 / 11:30 pm

      Thank you for sharing this info. There is absolutely no news anywhere about this.

    • June 12, 2014 / 11:31 pm

      I can’t stop crying. I too am a writer and we both discussed getting started in our writing career in such a late stage in our lives. She was working on a sequel to The Darkest Child but I assume she had an illness that interfered with her work. I did keep up with her for a short while but after moving to NY lost contact with her. She did not get a good contract on that book. I know how she suffered to do book signings and the like. She had to pay her own traveling and lodging expenses and even left her job to pursue her career. She was taken advantage of. She said she was far too eager to get published and they saw that and she signed a contract that was not to her advantage. She said she would self-publish her next book. I still can’t stop shaking because although I spent only an hour or so with her, I feel as though I had known her for a lifetime. We experienced some of the same issues in life.
      Ife

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