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Grace after Midnight
     

Grace after Midnight

4.4 37
by Felicia Pearson, David Ritz
 

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While Felicia is a brilliant actor in a truly chilling role, what's most remarkable about "Snoop" is what she has overcome in her life. Snoop was born a three-pound cross-eyed crack baby in East Baltimore. Those streets are among the toughest in the world, but Snoop was tougher. The runt of the ghetto showed an early aptitude for drug slinging and violence and thrived

Overview

While Felicia is a brilliant actor in a truly chilling role, what's most remarkable about "Snoop" is what she has overcome in her life. Snoop was born a three-pound cross-eyed crack baby in East Baltimore. Those streets are among the toughest in the world, but Snoop was tougher. The runt of the ghetto showed an early aptitude for drug slinging and violence and thrived as a baby gangsta until she landed in Jessup state penitentiary after killing a woman in self-defense. There she rebelled violently against the system, and it was only through the cosmic intervention of her mentor, Uncle Loney, that she turned her life around. A couple of years ago, Snoop was discovered in a nightclub by one of The Wire's cast members and quickly recruited to be one of television's most frightening and intriguing villians.

While the story of coming up from the hood has been told by Antwone Fisher and Chris Gardner, among others, Snoop's tale goes far deeper into The Life than any previous books. And like Mary Karr's story, Snoop's is a woman's story from a fresh point of view. She defied traditional conventions of gender and sexual preference on the hardest streets in America and she continues to do so in front of millions of viewers on TV.

Editorial Reviews

"I'm not making excuses," this memoir begins, "and I'm not feeling sorry for myself. Don't expect you to feel to sorry for me, especially now that things have turned around. Just want to tell my story while it's fresh." If any one has a right to make excuses, it would be Felicia "Snoop" Pearson, the author of Grace After Midnight. She stopped breathing at the hospital where she was born, but the doctors somehow found a way to revive this quivering, cross-eyed, crack-addicted three-pound baby. Her violent, disturbing story snaps us to attention like a chain reaction car crash and then leaves us, sitting in wonderment, thankful that we're alive.
Publishers Weekly

Pearson, who stars in HBO's The Wire, was born ill and underweight from her mother's drug habits, and later worked for a crack dealer in East Baltimore. At age 15 she killed a woman in self-defense and wound up in the Jessup State Penitentiary. She got a wakeup call when the notorious dealers she called "Uncle" and "Father" wound up respectively dead and imprisoned for life. Once out on parole, Pearson took an assembly-line job and "didn't give [her neighborhood dope dealers] a second glance," but after repeatedly getting fired because of her rap sheet, she returned to dealing before a chance meeting gave her a way off the street for good. This isn't a light celebrity bio, but a powerful story of someone trying to find her way in a dark world, realizing she can still choose her life's direction even in tremendously difficult circumstances. Pearson's narrative is spare, even poetic, rendering traumatic moments all the more powerful. (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA
Felicia Pearson, dubbed "Snoop," was born addicted to crack. Her youth was spent on the tough streets of East Baltimore, where she proved that she was capable of the violence it takes to survive. Despite the love of her foster parents, her real mentors were sophisticated drug dealers who saw something special in the small but ferocious girl. By the time she was barely into her teens, Pearson was charged with murder and locked up in the penitentiary. But after her release from prison, Pearson landed a role on the television show, The Wire, playing a street assassin in the same Baltimore neighborhoods of her youth. Entertainment Weekly described her performance as, "perhaps the most terrifying female villain to ever appear in a television series.ö Pearson's memoir is written in street dialect, which might appeal to some readers but offend others. Pearson offers an abundance of unsettling insights into the mind of a young girl who is surrounded by few opportunities beyond the lucrative drug trade. She is frank about her attraction to women. One of the most genuine parts of the book is when Pearson describes her horror at the movie, Boys Don't Cry. As numb to violence as she seems, Pearson was shocked by the way society treats "a girl who feels like a boy." Although Pearson's story may be too gritty for a mainstream teen audience, it should be well appreciated by urban fiction readers and fans of The Wire. Reviewer: Diane Colson
Library Journal

Pearson, an actress in the TV drama The Wire, was born a crack baby in Baltimore and raised in a foster home. Here, with collaborator Ritz, she chronicles living on the streets, dealing drugs, and ending up in prison for killing a woman in self-defense. (Xpress Reviews, 10/21/07)


—Ann Burns
Kirkus Reviews
Pearson's memoir is even more horrifying than the cold-blooded killer she portrays on The Wire. Born a cross-eyed crack baby in East Baltimore, the author was soon in foster care. Her mother paid infrequent visits (locking her in a closet and selling her clothes to buy crack during one of them) and then stopped coming altogether. Her doting and religious foster parents did their best, but their neighborhood was riddled with drug dealers, and Pearson, an industrious but fidgety tomboy, couldn't resist the siren call of the streets. She witnessed her first murder in sixth grade and soon acquired the moniker "Snoop," a personal arsenal and a rep for being dead-eyed crazy. At 15, she fatally shot a woman who came after her with a bat; she got a relative break with a sentence of only five years. In prison, Pearson got her GED and stayed out of trouble. She even had a moment of revelation when the workings of the universe were at least briefly made clear. Her loving relationship (of a sort) with a prison guard provides one of the narrative's less-expected moments, and the subject of Pearson's homosexuality is handled with surprisingly unconventional directness. With the help of veteran co-author David Ritz (Faith in Time: The Life of Jimmy Scott, 2002, etc.), she tells her story in prose that has the same laconic, hypnotic clarity with which she delivers her lines on The Wire. Having been dealt such a raw hand by life, Pearson's happenstance discovery in a bar by an actor on the show makes a welcome end to this captivating, brutally honest tale of a life that came perilously close to being a complete waste. A hard-luck tale that never asks for pity.
Ebony
"A gripping story about overcoming obstacles in the face of great adversity and finding hope in the most unlikely place-television."
Allhiphop.com
"A remarkable book about a remarkable lady...will encourage anyone who aspires to be bigger and better than what they are...an awesome book to give to a young person as a Christmas gift."
Essence
"This is no rage-to-riches story. In fact, it reads more like a miracle."
Giant
"Read her intriguing life story...it's a short, punchy ride of a book."
author of Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We'r Terrie M. Williams
"Raw and thought provoking...told with a bitter sweet elegance...the story of a child who buried her pain and then filled her life with violent behavior. But Snoop's journey is now a rainbow shining in the light of hope and wellness...and is a gift to us all."
NBC's Heroes Jamie Hector
"Felicia's story is a reminder to me that through the depths of the worst unforeseen circumstances, that life can sometimes bring, the 2 things that we must never lose sight of, GOD's Grace, and Hope. Felicia is a perfect example of one who learned this the hard way and will now, never lose her way again."
From the Publisher
"Raw and thought provoking...told with a bitter sweet elegance...the story of a child who buried her pain and then filled her life with violent behavior. But Snoop's journey is now a rainbow shining in the light of hope and wellness...and is a gift to us all."—Terrie M. Williams, author of Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting"

Felicia's story is a reminder to me that through the depths of the worst unforeseen circumstances, that life can sometimes bring, the 2 things that we must never lose sight of, GOD's Grace, and Hope. Felicia is a perfect example of one who learned this the hard way and will now, never lose her way again."—Jamie Hector, NBC's Heroes"

Pearson's memoir is even more horrifying than the cold-blooded killer she portrays on The Wire."—Kirkus Reviews"

A gripping story about overcoming obstacles in the face of great adversity and finding hope in the most unlikely place-television."—Ebony"

A remarkable book about a remarkable lady...will encourage anyone who aspires to be bigger and better than what they are...an awesome book to give to a young person as a Christmas gift."—Allhiphop.com"

This is no rage-to-riches story. In fact, it reads more like a miracle."—Essence"

Read her intriguing life story...it's a short, punchy ride of a book."—Giant"

Apowerful story of someone trying to find her way in a dark world, realizing she can still choose her life's direction even in tremendously difficult circumstances. Pearson's narrative is spare, even poetic, rendering traumatic moments all the more powerful."—Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446500982
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
11/01/2007
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
158,906
File size:
575 KB

Read an Excerpt

Grace After Midnight


By David Ritz Felicia Pearson Grand Central Publishing Copyright © 2007 Felicia Pearson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-446-19518-8


Chapter One BABY GIRL

I was born in Baltimore twenty-seven years ago, and then I died-twice. I died both times because my mother was filled with drugs and so was I. Crack babies are messed-up babies, and, according to what the doctors were saying, I didn't have a prayer.

But they brought me back from death's door. Someone or something keeps bringing me back from death's door.

I don't understand it, but maybe writing this book will help me see who I was and who I became.

Sometimes I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine myself back then:

A little-bitty baby small enough to fit into the palm of the doctor's hand, no bigger than a puppy or kitten; a baby who has to be fed with an eye dropper 'cause her mouth is too small for the nipple of a bottle; a baby born cross-eyed due to the drugs running through her system.

A baby born to die.

But that same doomed-to-die baby finds a way to live.

How?

Why?

Sure wasn't because of Mama. Mama was Loretta Chase. The woman may have wanted me-I can't know that for sure-but I do know that she couldn't care for me. Later I learned that Mother was the kind of lady that always kept a drug dealer around to fill her needs. She could do that because she had a pretty face, long wavy hair, and a fine figure. Men flocked to her. My daddy ran from her-or she chased him off. I never did get the story.

I didn't get a lot of the stories about my real parents. They're ghost figures in my childhood. I saw them in my dreams when I was a little girl. Sometimes they creep back into my dreams now that I'm a grown woman, but they're always covered in mystery.

The mystery was heavy because as soon as I was born I was put into a foster home owned by two people who had a row house in the toughest neighborhood in East Baltimore. Their names were Cora and Levi Pearson and their place was on East Oliver Street, three doors off the corner of North Montford. That's where I grew up. Oliver and Montford is where it all happened.

When I arrived the Pearsons were already in their early sixties. Sweet folk. They took care of me, but I still wanted my mama. And when I heard that Mama was calling for me, I got happy all over. I wanted to see her.

All little girls wanna see their mothers. All girls need their mothers. The earliest dreams I can remember are dreams of my mother. I'd see her standing there before me, holding out her arms, hugging me tight, putting me to bed and tucking me in.

"You're my precious baby," she'd say.

I'd smile at her, close my eyes, and fall asleep inside my dream.

THE CLOSET

My memories of Mama's visits are like dreams.

During the first two visits we were at the park. I remember clouds and rain, I remember a dark sky, wet grass, and plastic slides in the playground. I remember Mrs. Simms, the white social worker, who held my hand until, from behind a tree, a woman appeared. The woman was beautiful. She ran to me with her arms wide open. I didn't move. I didn't know what to do.

"It's your mother," said Mrs. Simms. "Go to your mother."

I let the woman embrace me. She smelled of cigarettes and perfume. Tears ran down her cheek. I didn't know why she was crying. She held me tight and said words I don't remember. I imagine that she said she loved me. We walked for a while. She, Mrs. Simms, and I went to a candy store where I got a soda and a little bag of M & M's.

"You and your mother look just alike," Mrs. Simms said.

I loved hearing those words because I knew my mother looked like a lady in a magazine.

The rain stopped-I can't remember if this was the first visit or the second-and children were in the park. My mother said something about my pigtails. As a little girl, my hair was done up in little pigtails.

"If you let your hair grow out," she said, "it'll look like mine."

She let me touch her wavy hair.

"Can I bring her to my house? Can I be alone with my daughter?" she asked Mrs. Simms.

Mrs. Simms said, "Maybe. Maybe next time."

Next time came soon. The night before I was too excited to sleep.

What would my mother's house look like? I was sure it'd be pretty because she was pretty. I was sure it'd be big. The house on Oliver Street had three floors and three bedrooms, but I knew my mother's house would be bigger. The house on Oliver Street had all sorts of people living there-grandchildren and cousins to Mr. and Mrs. Pearson. But I was my mother's only child. I wouldn't have to share the house with anyone but my mother. Maybe I could live with her forever.

I always hated dresses, but I wore one to visit my mother because I wanted to look pretty. I wanted to look like my mother. My dress, lavender and embroidered with white lace, was brand new. My foster mama had bought it for me to wear to church.

My excitement built as Mrs. Simms drove me to my mother's. But when we arrived, I was sure she had made a mistake. It wasn't a house at all, but a tiny one-room apartment with a small kitchen, and a couch that opened up into a bed. The room was messy and didn't smell good. This couldn't be where my mom lived. But it was.

When Mrs. Simms left us, my mother sat down on the edge of the bed. Something was wrong. She was crying and shaking. I didn't know why. She didn't hug and kiss me like she had in the park. She didn't even look at me. I just stood there.

Then her mood changed. She got up from the bed and told me to take off my clothes. I didn't understand why. I wouldn't do it.

"Do it!" she cried.

She screamed at me until I did it. I took off all my clothes, dropping them on the floor.

"Now get in there," she ordered, pointing to the closet.

I tried to run but my mother caught me. She pushed me into the closet and locked the door behind me. I began wailing at the top on my lungs.

"Stop crying," she said. "I'll be back."

Then the sound of her leaving the apartment.

The darkness.

The fear of being locked in.

Naked fear.

Baby girl fear.

Pure terror.

I carried on. Kept crying. Kept screaming louder, but no one heard. Cried so loud and long that I cried myself out. I finally fell to the floor and started kicking. I had to get out. Someone had to hear me.

I don't know how much time passed, but when I heard the voices of Mrs. Simms and my foster father, I screamed my head off. They broke open the door and set me free. I was hysterical.

"Imagine that," I heard Mrs. Simms tell my foster father, "selling her little girl's clothes to buy crack."

I was never allowed to be alone with my mother again.

Sometime in my childhood my mother reappeared at the house on Oliver Street.

Each time the visit was short, and with each visit she looked less beautiful. Her eyes were crazy. Sometimes her dress was dirty and worn. She'd come into the front room and just look at me. She'd try to smile, but the smile wouldn't come. She'd cry and leave.

Her visits became more infrequent. Finally they stopped.

That's when Mrs. Pearson became Mama and Mr. Pearson became Pop.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Grace After Midnight by David Ritz Felicia Pearson Copyright © 2007 by Felicia Pearson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Felicia still lives in Baltimore, Maryland and is studying at the Baltimore school of the Arts. Felicia is now focussing on expanding her career to movies.

David Ritz's most recent bestseller is Tavis Smiley's What I Know For Sure. He has also collaborated with Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Laila Ali and B.B. King on their life stories. He has won a Grammy, a Deems Taylor ASCAP award, four Rolling Stone/Ralph J. Gleason book awards and is the co-composer of "Sexual Healing." He lives in Los Angeles.

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Grace after Midnight 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
lexie222 More than 1 year ago
they had this book at my school and it looked interesting so i read it , and once i started i never wanted to stop and all my friends couldn't wait for me to finish so they could read it too . it was a great book and i read it everyday until i finished i highly recommend this book , you just gotta read it !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TheART77 More than 1 year ago
A friend suggested I read this book and so I ordered it and had not put it down for a week from front to back cover .I found this book very interesting through the eyes of the writer Felicia Pearson wrote such an amazing book through life experiences Highly Recommended this read.
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I was always intrigued by the character Felicia Pearson portrayed in The Wire. So when I learned she had a book, I had to grab it. It didn't diappoint. She's pretty direct and clear about her life and how she lived it and she made no excuses for it. Her book was a quick read and maintains your attention throughout. Good book. *I purchased this book shortly after it was released so my review is late.
CraigTN More than 1 year ago
This is her story told in her words. Very authentic. A little more about the lesbian lifestyle than I cared to know. But again, that is part of her story. I look forward to more coming from this artist/actor.
Slessman More than 1 year ago
GRACE AFTER MIDNIGHT Felicia "Snoop" Pearson With David Ritz Grand Central Publishing ISBN: 978-0-446-19519-5 $13.99 - Paperback 240 pages Reviewer: Annie Slessman Memoirs can include people from all walks of life. From statesmen to the homeless, people share their lives in the hope that somehow they will be remembered. This seems to be the case of Felicia "Snoop" Pearson in her memoir, GRACE AFTER MIDNIGHT. Born into the world of a street kid, she came into the world weighing only three pounds. She grew strong, not only physically, but also mentally. These were traits that served her well on the streets of East Baltimore. Her birth mother was on crack when she gave birth to Snoop and eventually the drug caused her death. Snoop was taken in by the Pearson's, a couple who had little, but shared what they had with Snoop. The Pearson's hoped for something better for Snoop than the street life. However, Snoop liked the street life and against their wishes, she becomes part of the life of drugs, guns and sex. Snoop is a self professed homosexual who feels comfortable with her sexuality. Unfortunately, she finds this sexual preference a problem when she ends up in prison for second degree murder. Her life story is not a pretty one. It is full of the harsh reality of street survival, prison life and of the people who tried to help her along the way. It was the television media that gave 'Snoop" her biggest break when she is cast as a regular on the HBO television series, "The Wire." What turns "Snoop" from the streets and into a legitimate life makes for some interesting reading. Don't look for pretty tales here, they don't exist.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Baltimore, Felicia Pearson was born to a drug addict. Although the infant mortality rate is high for that class of baby, she survived overcoming illness. She was raised by foster parents who cared about her, but she could not accept their loving kindness. Instead she turned to the streets where she worked the crack trade under the tutelage of "Uncle" and "Father". At fifteen she killed a woman in self defense but spent several years behind bars. At the same time Uncle is killed street style and father goes to jail for life. Not wanting to emulate them any longer, upon parole Felicia accepts work on an assembly-line but her criminal past kept her from going straight. The Wire saved her in a Hollywood only happy ending as Felicia Pearson keeps the hope alive fueled by the regrets of the harm she had caused. This autobiography pulls no punches as Felicia Pearson tells her past with an open eyed honesty; not often seen in memoirs. Using street vernacular, Ms. Pearson leaves nothing to the imagination as she explains her street life childhood in spite of a loving foster mom and Pop. Profound and profane made even deeper by the street vernacular, Ms. Pearson has in deed come a long way from working the corners to Hollywood, but has not lost who she is. Grace After Midnight is inspiring for it's in your face from the heart honesty. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
dominican4life More than 1 year ago
You know what? when i first saw this book online i thought it was a guy but then when i clicked on it and saw the name i was glad to see that it was felicia from the wire..i really thought it would be an awesome book and it was! the money was well spent and didnt regret one bit buying this book..its so inspiring no matter if u gay, bi or straight it would still motivate you to keep going with life no matter the obstacles you go through..this girl sure got herself together from streets selling drugs to been a celebrity and role model for everybody in the hood..i wasnt raised in the streets but i sure do respect this book and recommend this one to everybody that has overcome a really big step in their lives! get it asap! you wont regret it
-x-JazminNiqquh More than 1 year ago
This book has really showed me that life is a gift and yes everyone goes through things in life but see the good even when it's bad. I sort of kind of been in her shoes only mo\y parents are alive and still together. Much love to snoop she's the best and one day I might marry her. x-x Jazmin.
newyork2KT More than 1 year ago
snoop ur a gud writer and u have a blessed heart i wish u the best!!!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I did'nt know anything about the series ( the Wire). but i came across a segment on tv about women in prison and show the name felicia snoop pearson. afterwards i got on the net for more information. long story short I went to the bookstore and got the book and i read it within 2 hours cause it was so simple and straight to the point. this book would be good for alot of young girls to read who are headed in the wrong direction as i see just as i was walking downtown seattle to the bookstore to see these kids hanging out on the streets... I will take my book and give it to a youth center counselor and maybe they can give it to someone who needs encouragement.... god bless you felicia ... maybe you will come to seattle wa for a book signing ...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Snoop has had such a blessed life, despite the presence of some extremely harsh realities. She has a wonderful way of telling her story and while some of the writing is too simplistic, overall, the tone of her story is important to get the feeling of her life. I loved this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found 'Grace After Midnight' to be a recommended read for anyone in the African-American community. It spoke of the streets in a way that was down-to-earth and insightful. If you enjoyed books such as 'The Coldest Winter Ever' or 'Black Girl Lost' you will love 'Grace After Midnight'. Unlike fictional characters and plots this was real and to the point.