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The Darkest Child

Written by: Delores Phillips
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 15 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (47 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A new edition of this award-winning modern classic, with a new introduction

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 10 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 12 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?

©2004 Delores Phillips (P)2018 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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this was an excellent book. great Story from beginning to end excellent narration wish there was a second book to read.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Wow...

What an amazing listen, loved the book from the first page on, even at times it was heartbreaking and cruel
but the main characters drive for survival was most astounding !

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Excellent!

This was the best book I have listened to in along time. The writing, characters and narration were all excellent. I actually think this narrator was one of the best I have listed to. She did male and female voices effortlessly and the characters really came to life. I wish I could start all over again and hear it for the first time but will look for more titles with the same narrator.

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EXCELLENT Book!

I loved everything about his book. The story was phenomenal.. the narration was superb. Bahni Turpin is the best narrator in the business. The story was deeply sad, hopeful, and a character study in resilience. I'm so upset the second book was never completed. I just finished this book and immediately stopped to post this review. You won't be sorry if you get this book. So moving!

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Wanting more

A story about the blurred line between love and hate.
I wish there was more.

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Excellent book!

I can see this being made into a movie one day. The narration was absolutely perfect. A definite 5 star all around.

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  • NIXX1993
  • 2018-03-01

My heart couldn't take it

If you could sum up The Darkest Child in three words, what would they be?

Never knew I could feel so deeply for fictional characters. Beautiful Heart-aching story line. Some days, I didn't know if I could continue after every heart-yearning tale, but I had to finish. By far one of my new favs!

What did you like best about this story?

The details, the way it was written. It all was so poetic and well told.

What about Bahni Turpin’s performance did you like?

I love her dedication to each one of the characters. Her voice was a pleasure to listen too. Only she could deliver their heartbreaking stories with a voice that soothed you as it told tales of dark times.

If you could take any character from The Darkest Child out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Tangie May, her composure throughout the story amazed me. I would love to meet her and look her in her eyes. I could only imagine if hers were my own.

Any additional comments?

Cant wait for #2. Thank you Phillips for telling this story, it needed to be heard. best & light -J

94 of 96 people found this review helpful

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  • Beguiling
  • 2018-04-02

The Darkest Child

I don't know how I stumbled across this book but I am glad I did.
There are elements of the story that I could identify with. My mother's family is from Dublin, Georgia. My grandmother had very light skin with blue/grey eyes. These attributes were very prized and were frequently referred to with great pride. My grandmother could have "passed." She married her cousin, who was an red boned man with straight hair and a widow's peak in the center of his hairline. The genetic lottery did not give my grandmother's children "good hair."
My grandmother's surviving son, in a family of two boys and four girls, married a dark skinned woman that she always called "that little black gal."
When I was a little girl my mother, who had hazel eyes, would regularly tell us that "your Mama is almost white."
I mention all this to say that I could identify with Rosie's ways.
She was beautiful and cunning. She was narcissistic and everyone fell into line because they were afraid of her tantrums. They loved and hated her but irrationally wanted to protect her despite her cruelty.
The story was difficult to listen to because Rosie was a contemptible person. The narrator did a spectacular job capturing the nuances of a person whose beauty and wits allowed her to survive when an uneducated Black woman in the South had few options.
I didn't like Rosie and how she cajoled and contaminated her children with her self-centered behavior and mental illness but I knew people like her. And I simultaneously loved and hated them.
This is not a happily ever after story but it well written and superbly performed by the narrator.




122 of 126 people found this review helpful

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  • Emme Q. Gee
  • 2018-06-04

Amazing!!!!

This is another book that has followed me around. I would always get recommendations to read this book from Goodreads and Amazon but I figured I wouldn't like it. It just wasn't my type of book. But something in my gut kept me coming back to this book & the book popping up around me. I put it on my goodreads "to read" shelf and my Amazon "wishlist" and left it there...FOR MONTHS! Well, in 2018 for my goodreads book challenge I decided I would be more open to read books from authors I've never read, different genres of books and step more out of my reading comfort zone. So with that being said, I purchased a book that I feel is quite possibly the best book I've ever read in my life. I don't think I've ever felt this strongly about a book ever. This book has pulled every emotion from me. I've been so sad and hurt. Happy and downright pissed! The mother in this book, Rozelle is something else and that's putting it nicely. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what she is because she is a mixture of many toxic & vile things. She is manipulative, evil, a low down sad excuse of a woman and a terrible example of what a mother is and should be. The things these kids and young adults have had to endure at her hands is inexplicable. She constantly did things to make her kids hate her and want to leave her but she never wanted them to leave her even though she seemed to hate them. The sad thing about Rozelle is that she is one of those types that never experienced love from her mother so she just continued the cycle. This book although fictional is very realistic, raw and somewhat graphic in it's description of certain scenes. When talking to my hubby discussing it he would ask, "are you sure this isn't a true story, It's way too believable to not be?" This book was AMAZING! It was so well written and put together. I am saddened that I will never know what will happen to Tangy Mae and the rest of the Quinn children and even Rozelle since the author Ms. Phillips passed away in 2014. I have so many questions like: where is Sam? Did Crow ever go see about Tangy? Did Tangy go to college or get a job? How did Mushy react when she found out Tangy & Laura were gone? Is Rozelle really crazy or faking it? How are Harvey, his wife and baby? How are Martha Jean, Velman and the girls? How's Wallace? And who the hell are all their daddies? I strongly believe that Mr. Groden, Mrs. Zadie's husband is his dad. And lastly the narrator for this book was awesome! She captured every character and was distinctive in her voices where you knew who's voice belonged to who.

42 of 43 people found this review helpful

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  • Stephanie Roberson
  • 2018-03-04

Wow

What a story! I want more, but the author is deceased. Excellent performance by Bahni Turpin.

47 of 49 people found this review helpful

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  • DeeMcD
  • 2018-06-21

This story still blows me away!

I first read this book when it was released 10 years ago. It was a page turner and I have recommended it over the years. Dolores Phillips captures the pain, suffering and triumph of Tangie May and her family in a way that you never forget the Quinns. Bhani Turpin’s narration is wonderful and allowed me to experience this novel in a totally different way. Such an amazing work of literature!

29 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-04-13

Gritty and real.

I so enjoyed listening to this book! I have heard the narrator Bahni Turpin before and she is always phenomenal! I did not want this book to end. It was real, it was sad, it was infuriating, it was hopeful...So many emotions. If you do not like a lot of profanity, this book is not for you. I don't like a lot of profanity but I have to admit that I felt it was not used just because but because if you sat in on the family in this book, that's how it was. I was so disappointed to find out there will be no sequel due to Ms . Phillips passing. I definitely recommend this book!

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • MsR
  • 2018-08-09

What a Book!!

I think I’ve went through 1,000 emotions listening to this book.. Its a must read/listen & you won’t be able to stop it once it begin. I just want to find Tangy and cry, hold but most important love her and all her siblings.. Great book!! This must be turnt into a movie..

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-01-27

Love this novel

Beung a person of color who have been through hell...this book is everything..REALLY LOVED IT

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Stacy Winkle
  • 2019-01-17

Fabulous story

What a book! This gem sat in my library for way too long. This is a heavy, but fantastic listen full of characters to which you will feel an emotional connection. The writing is rich and poetic, and Ms. Turpin always gives a stellar performance. This story will stay with you long after you have finished it.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Bettye Evans Vint
  • 2018-12-01

A mother who is filled with evil and anger!

I found the story very captivating from chapter to chapter an I did not want to stop listening.
It was intriguing to hear what the crazy heartless mother was up to from moment to moment. The Jim Crow time was devastating for black people of color. It hurts to hear of this time period and what Black people had to go through to survive. I did not like Rosie-the mother. But loved the sibling and their bond and caring heart for each other. I did not like the ending. It left you hanging re The main character‼️

9 of 10 people found this review helpful