Mama Black Widow

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Overview

Mama Black Widow tells the story of Otis Tilson, a comely and tragic homosexual queen adrift with his brothers and sisters in the dark, labyrinthine world of pimping, tricking, violence, and petty crime. Written in the jagged, vivid, and always authentic language of the homosexual underworld and the black ghetto, Mama Black Widow is a tour of a predatory urban hell. This is Iceberg Slim's profound and disturbing masterpiece, a howl of despair from the tortured margins of urban ...
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1969 Unknown Binding Fair This is a used book. It may contain highlighting/underlining and/or the book may show heavier signs of wear. It may also be ex-library or without ... dustjacket. All orders are shipped the same or the next day. Read more Show Less

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Mama Black Widow: A Story of the South's Black Underworld

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Overview

Mama Black Widow tells the story of Otis Tilson, a comely and tragic homosexual queen adrift with his brothers and sisters in the dark, labyrinthine world of pimping, tricking, violence, and petty crime. Written in the jagged, vivid, and always authentic language of the homosexual underworld and the black ghetto, Mama Black Widow is a tour of a predatory urban hell. This is Iceberg Slim's profound and disturbing masterpiece, a howl of despair from the tortured margins of urban America.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A pimp who began writing in prison, Slim (Pimp: Story of My Life) filled his stories with the intricacies of pimping, drug dealing, numbers running and all manner of urban hustling, and between the mid-1960s and the mid '70s became the bestselling black novelist in American history. Now Old School Books has reissued his remarkable fictional memoir of a Chicago drag queen coming of age during the 1930s and '40s. At its core is the archetypal African American story: Otis Tilson's family moves from the rural South to the urban promised land of Chicago only to find more racism, abysmal slums and demeaning, low-paying jobs. Unable to provide for his family, Otis's father declines into alcoholism while the family founders, with Otis's doomed sisters and brother drifting into prostitution and petty crime. Meanwhile, the secret gay life that sets Otis apart from them is an endless nightmare of rapes, beatings and failed attempts at heterosexual love. It ain't pretty, but Slim's bracing ghetto melodrama and famously histrionic voice ("But she hesitated... for one hellish, destructive fragment of a pounding, torturous instant!") capture a core of unsentimental truth not just about homosexuality in the ghetto but also about the myths and travails of masculinity itself. (July)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870674150
  • Publisher: Holloway House Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 6/1/1972
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback

Meet the Author

Iceberg Slim was the pseudonym of Robert Beck, a longtime pimp whose novels for Holloway House, including Pimp and Trick Baby, made him the best-selling black novelist in American history.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

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(5)

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(4)

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 20, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Tragic Family Affair

    I absolutely loved reading this book.It was a page turner indeed. I'm glad that the leading character shared some of his deepest dark secrets that many would vow to take with them to their grave. It was a very interesting book from the beginning to the very end. You will not be disappointed while reading this book. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2006

    This book is not for the timid!

    I think that his families coming from the south and not knowing enough about the fast city life and it's pitfall's overcame them all. Otis's secret gay lifestyle to him was his own private hell. I was depressed after reading his story. His bio was sad yet engrossing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2004

    Kinda Depressing but good

    This book is filled with a lot of the thing that gay america has to face now. I would recommed this book the story of Otis aka Sweet Pea is a very sad but it keeps you intrested. The mother is totally a crazy loon.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2001

    Sad Book! True Story

    This is a good book. It starts with otis' current life and goes back into his past of how he grows up with his parents and siblings and never having lasting love. I enjoyed it very much. It is a book about inner city chicago and his childhood. I was kind of leary at first because I thought it was about living as a drag queen. It is really about an actual child growing up in the hood and the sad events that occurred in his lifetime. I recommend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2000

    Shows how a southern family can fall to city life

    Being a young man who moved from the South to NYC I can easily see how the Tilson family felt. Papa feeling like he cant support the family, because there is no field work. Mama trying to put the southern touch on raising her children while the mean city pulls them in. And Poor Otis, confused about it all. I would recommend this book to anyone. Black,White,Gay,Straight,Sexual.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2010

    A look into oppressive AmeriKKKa

    A grim look into the plight of blacks in this country. This book changed my life. Highly recommended

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Magnificent & Painful Look into a Grim, Oppressive & Ultimately Self-Destructive World

    This book is dynamic in its representation of the black slums and they way it ties that oppression to the dejected, painful life of the protagonist and storyteller Otis Tilson. Slim has a strong grasp of character and the milieu in which the novel is set. The text is rife with beautiful descriptions of setting that makes the reader feel present in the drama and action. The relationships and sexual encounters also provide an in-depth look at a world in which sex is more a commercial transaction that part of a love bond, where love in the heterosexual as well as the homosexual subculture is quasi non-existent and severely challenged, and the quest for opportunity and success provides no solace or happiness. Everything is turned upside down from religion, to sexuality, to psychology and examined in a satisfying way. Definitely not for the "light-hearted" reader while definitely a rewarding read for someone engaged in the questions of race, sexuality, the false solace of religion and oppression.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2000

    The Downfall of a Drag Queen.

    The life of Otis Tilson comes full circle when he struggles with this own sexuality. A drag queen who never finds love, does find security and acceptance in an underworld of drugs, and sex.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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