Today’s Favorite Book is The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips. In this turbulent novel, Phillips takes us inside the troubled life of Tangy Mae Quinn, an adolescent Black girl growing up in rural 1950s Georgia. Tangy has 9 siblings, all born of her mother, Rozelle Quinn– a harsh, paradoxical woman, who seems to care little for the people around her (including her own children). An excerpt from Chapter Three reads:
“In less than five minutes our mother had taught us…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.”
Much of Rozelle’s behavior throughout the book is shocking, and the reader flinches when Rozelle grows physically and verbally abusive towards her own offspring. Although she is hard on all of her children, Rozelle’s abuse affects Tangy in a variety of disconcerting ways. Tangy struggles to understand not only her mother, but the world in which she lives. She is met with many challenges, and is exposed to alcoholism, racism, and even prostitution at a young age. The reader is bound tighter and tighter to the Quinn family through the pages of this book, and will cheer to see a light at the end of Tangy’s long tunnel after witnessing her life of pain, countered by her own steely determination to escape the confines of home.
A pleasant addition to this book is its “Reader’s Guide”, a compelling set of questions that urges readers to delve deeply into different elements of the book, including its characters, its setting, and its intended messages.
S. Willis is a native Virginian. She is the author of a children’s book, “The Little Adventures of Bella and DJ,” which will be released Spring 2011 (visit www.WordsByWillis.com to pre-order).
Want to recommend a book for S. Willis to review? Email your suggestions to: Samantha@wordsbywillis.com