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The Darkest Child.

The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips Soho Press, Inc., January 2004 $26.00, ISBN 1-569-47345-5

This novel documents the unjust and dreadful life of 13-year-old Tangy Mae Quinn from 1958 to 1960. "Tan" is a very dark and therefore highly despised child born to Rozelle "Rosie" Quinn and Clarence Otis Yardley, or "Crow," a traveling man.

Rosie employs brutal intimidation, fear, violence, and even murder to bind her 10 children to her will. Yet Rosie the victimizer is also the victim. Cast out of her mother's home at 13, Rosie replicates her own tortured childhood for her daughters. She first uses them as maids and later as prostitutes to feed, clothe and protect her rural Georgia family.

Even though all the children suffered at Rosie's hands, Tan employs her overarching resolve to push her way out of abject poverty by getting an education.

By the novel's end, the family's dead-end stories have spiraled into the face of an evil so pure and horrific that we, the readers, must confront how to stem the tide of our children's societal neglect, poverty and racism. Fortunately, Tan escapes, but it is at a price that no child should ever have to pay. Unbelievably, in 2004 the horror our children face is far more dreadful. The Darkest Child leaves us wondering about what safety can we offer today's Tangy Maes.--Carroll Parrott Blue

Carroll Parrott Blue is a professor at the University of Central Florida, Orlando Tech Center/Digital Media Division. She is the author of The Dawn at My Back: Memoir of a Black Texas Upbringing (University of Texas Press, January 2003).
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Author:Blue, Carroll Parrott
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2004
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