The Darkest Child

The Darkest ChildThe Darkest Child by Delores Phillips
Published by Soho Press on January 1st 2005
Pages: 400
ISBN: 1569473781
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four-half-stars

Whew! Wow what a book. What a beautifully written yet sad book. Why has this Author not written another book? Perhaps this was the only story she needed to tell. The writing was so wonderful and vivid that I could see/imagine what was happening. That is not always a good thing with this book as there is a tremendous amount of abuse in this book. I found that I could not read this book fast. I had to take breaks from it. This is not an easy read.

The book begins when Rozelle tells her employer that it is her last day of work because she is going to die over the weekend. In reality she is pregnant. She has 10 children from different fathers and she is a disturbing woman. Mainly because she is disturbed. Was she mentally ill? What she incredibly mean? There is something just off about her and the Author never really tells us what. Her children also know something is not quite right about their Mother. She is abusive to her children. Abuse is a light word for how she treats her children. Forcing two daughters to prostitute themselves for money and one to raise money to get her brother out of jail. Not all of her children survive. It is not a kind world that this family lives in. As I stated the descriptions are so vivid that the scenes are disturbing. This book is about pain, hope, determination and survival. This is a book where you want to know what happens next and yet at the same time, you dread what happens next.

Rozelle is a light skinned woman who could pass for White. As stated in the description, she favors (if you can call it favoring) her lighter skinned children. The narrator, is her dark skinned daughter Tangy May. A girl who loves books and school. Her Mother allows her to attend school the longest but soon decides that it is time for her to leave school and start earning money to help support the household.

This book has many characters. There is a character who just wants to teach and help better his peers through reading and writing. There are those who are angry with the “Jim Crow” South, there is Miss Pearl, who tries to help the family.

The part in the book where Rozelle tells Tangy May that they last time she saw her one child she was a fireball. UGH!

In short, beautifully written book. I highly recommend this book but be warned it is not an easy read. There are parts that will make you uncomfortable. I do hope that Delores Phillips continues to write. I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed her writing. She is so vivid and descriptive.

four-half-stars