The Darkest Child

The Darkest Child

Book - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"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 ten 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 twelve 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? A new edition of this award-winning modern classic, with new introduction, excerpt, and discussion guide "--
Publisher: New York, NY : Soho Press, Inc., [2018]
Edition: Special edition.
ISBN: 9781616958725
Characteristics: 387, 25 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Jones, Tayari


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Nov 26, 2018

I enjoyed this book but it was heart wrenching in some ways too because I think that this stuff happened to a lot of black folk back then. The way they were treated was just inhumane...the author did a great job portraying every character, and I wish she had been able to finish her sequel.

Mar 25, 2018

Tangy is the daughter of a light-colored mother who has fathered several children, each with a different father. Although no longer wanting to serve as a maid in a white family’s house, she forces Tangy and her older sister into prostitution to support their brothers and sisters. Filled with sadness most often caused by the mother’s insanity, Tangy still hopes she will graduate from high school and find a peaceful life for her and her younger sisters. Poignantly written, this story shows how determination and stubbornness help people survive in a life in which they have no control.

Mar 15, 2018

Another book where the jacket summary was misleading. I thought this book was going to be about a black child trying to make her way through a white school during 1950's integration. Nope, not one bit. Instead, it was a sad and depressing story of 10 dirt poor siblings who were ill cared for and abused by their mentally unstable mother. It is well written so that the reader feels every bit of the cruelty, pain and sadness these children suffer through. There are many colorful and memorable characters that you won't soon forget. But due to what a difficult book this is to read, I can't really recommend it to others.

Apr 07, 2015

One word sums this book up-outstanding. A brilliant and at times disturbing read. It is the story of a poor black family in rural Georgia in the fifties, with all the racism and discrimination that prevailed then. It is told through the eyes of Tangy , who is around 14 at the time. She longs to get away from the abusive drunken mother and wants something better for herself but is stymied in her attempts through the families situation.

Mar 08, 2015

Ms. Phillips wrote from a place both true and raw. Unbelievable she is a first time writer! Many are longing for the sequel. I will not be surprised to see this book transferred to the big screen.

madison382 Apr 25, 2014

The author is an excellent writer, however I found the subject matter to be very troubling. It was too graphic, and I honestly had to skim over some of the pages, because I could not allow myself to digest some of the things that were happening in the novel. I only gave it 3 stars, because I was so mad at the book.

ABenjamin33 Dec 09, 2013

Needed an altenative ending. Overall good book. Subject matter was a bit matture and even though targeted to young adults it should be read by older teens.

tiracialspirit Jul 05, 2012

After I finished I wanted to start over, and hope for an ending with more closure. Excellent read though.

yazthebeast Jun 25, 2012

I loved this book. I had many sleepless nights trying to finish it.

LouLooJ Jun 25, 2012

I loved the book even though i felt it moved a bit slow. The story broke my heart because even though it was fictional this very easily could be real. i wish everyone had the ability to fight back.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SMPL

To Top