Synopses & Reviews
A new edition of this award-winning modern classic, with an introduction by Tayari Jones (An American Marriage
), an excerpt from the never before seen follow-up, and discussion guide.
Pakersfield, Georgia, 1958: Thirteen-year-old Tangy Mae Quinn is the sixth of ten fatherless siblings. She is the darkest-skinned among them and therefore the ugliest in her mother, Rozelle’s, estimation, but she’s also the brightest. Rozelle — beautiful, charismatic, and light-skinned — exercises a violent hold over her children. Fearing abandonment, she pulls them from school at the age of twelve and sends them to earn their keep for the household, whether in domestic service, in the fields, or at “the farmhouse” on the edge of town, where Rozelle beds local men for money.
But Tangy Mae has been selected to be part of the first integrated class at a nearby white high school. She has a chance to change her life, but can she break from Rozelle’s grasp without ruinous — even fatal — consequences?
“A grim tale, set in the dying days of segregation, about one young woman’s struggle to escape her past, her mother, and her duties...Phillips writes vividly.” Kirkus Reviews
“Evil’s regenerative powers and one girl’s fierce resistance...A book that deserves a wide audience.” The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“The Darkest Child is a great gift, a timeless American treasure.” Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage
About the Author
Delores Phillips was born in Bartow County, Georgia in 1950, the second of four children. She graduated from Cleveland State University with a bachelor of arts in English and worked as a nurse at a state psychiatric hospital in Cleveland. Her work has appeared in Jean’s Journal, Black Times, and The Crisis. She passed away in 2014; The Darkest Child was her only novel.