My Little Pocketbooks: Review: The Darkest Child   

Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: The Darkest Child

The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips 
  Author: Delores Phillips
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Soho Press
Release Date: January 1, 2005
Paperback: 462 pages
Source: Purchased at EsoWon Bookstore
Buy the Book:  Amazon

Book Description
Rozelle Quinn is so fair-skinned that she can pass for white. Her ten children are mostly light, too. They constitute the only world she rules and controls. Her power over them is all she has in an otherwise cruel and uncaring universe
Rozelle favors her light-skinned kids, but Tangy Mae, 13, her darkest-complected child, is the brightest. She desperately wants to continue with her education. Her mother, however, has other plans. Rozelle wants her daughter to work cleaning houses for whites, like she does, and accompany her to the “Farmhouse,” where Rozelle earns extra money bedding men. Tangy Mae, she’s decided, is of age.
This is the story from an era when life’s possibilities for an African-American were unimaginably different. 
I read this book with my book club Mocha Girls Read and it was our selection for Black History Month.  I have to say this was a hard read for me.  I had a hard time getting caught up in all the craziness of the characters especially Rozelle aka Mama.  
Rozelle's character is an over dominating, bipolar woman who has ten kids by ten different men from working in the "farmhouse".  I was slightly disturbed by the "we know but it ain't our business" attitude the various people took regarding her abusive behavior toward the kids.  I have found that some of it really rang true in the Black community but this book slaps it in your face.  Rozelle's best and only friend Ms. Pearl knows she is abusing her kids and does nothing but buy them a pair of white socks for their birthdays.  
This book is full of family drama steaming from Rozelle's crazy actions.  She is the character that propels action in ever single person and sometimes lack of action.  
For me personally this book has too many characters and was missing the big climax.  There were so many small climaxes in this book within various circles of people involved but nothing really happened as a result of all the drama.  As Oprah would say, there was no big Aha! moment for the characters as a whole or the town.  
This was a great first time novel for Delores Phillips but the story was interesting in parts and missing something for me as a whole.
I recommend this book for 18 years and older due to the violence, profanity and sexual content. 
This book is number 9 in my 2012 Good Reads Challenge
This book is number 3 in my POC Reading Challenge 
Mocha Girls Read Book of the Month

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