Mama Black Widow

Mama Black Widow

Iceberg Slim / Feb 22, 2020

Mama Black Widow 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 cri

  • Title: Mama Black Widow
  • Author: Iceberg Slim
  • ISBN: 9780870679315
  • Page: 132
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 iMama 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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    • Unlimited [Philosophy Book] ☆ Mama Black Widow - by Iceberg Slim ✓
      132 Iceberg Slim
    • thumbnail Title: Unlimited [Philosophy Book] ☆ Mama Black Widow - by Iceberg Slim ✓
      Posted by:Iceberg Slim
      Published :2018-012-14T05:53:04+00:00

    About "Iceberg Slim"

      • Iceberg Slim

        Iceberg Slim, also known as Robert Beck, was born as Robert Lee Maupin Novelist and poet whose most famous novel, Pimp, is semi autobiographical.


    1. BLACK LIVES MATTERSi dice che Iceberg Slim avesse un carattere di ghiaccio, da cui deriva il nick Iceberg – e si sa che era alto 188 cm per meno di 82 kg, da cui Slim. All’anagrafe era invece registrato come Robert Lee Maupin, poi diventato Robert Beck.Ma è sotto lo pseudonimo Iceberg Slim che divenne famoso, per molti rapper una vera leggenda, al punto che Ice T Ice Cube, Iceberg Slimm e Pittsburg Slim si chiamano così in suo riferimento e onore.Iceberg Slim, aka Robert Beck, aka Robert L [...]

    2. I'm going through my old list of ten favorite novels, and this was near the top. It's actually the first one I loved as much now as I did 15-20 years ago, but I'm only giving it four stars. There are a few stretches that drag, such as Otis' transformation into a queen, and others that go by a bit too quickly, such as the final chapter, which doesn't call back enough to the first chapter to put the pieces together in the timeline. Basically, the final third needs the help of an editor. HOWEVER, I [...]

    3. This is a very graphic and gritty novel but not for the squeamish, faint of heart or those who want a happy ending because a happy ending you're not going to get. I must say it was probably one of the most nailbiting page turning protrayals of inner city 1930s black urban life. I seriously could not put it down as much as I wanted to at some points. The story is about Otis Tilson, otherwise known as Sally or Tilly by his cross dressing pals or Sweet Pea by the arachnoid mother of the title. The [...]

    4. My first read of 2016. Believe it or not, this popped up on Buzzfeed's "27 Seriously Underrated Books Every Book Lover Should Read" list last year. I'd never heard of this novel, but thought the synopsis was the complete opposite of anything Iceberg Slim would write about: a drag queen in the 1940s."Mama Black Widow" is the coming of age story of Otis Tilson, born in Mississippi, the youngest boy in a family of six that migrates to Chicago, unprepared for the harsh life that awaits. This novel c [...]

    5. I'm coming down the home stretch of reading everything Iceberg Slim wrote, and I'm glad this one was saved for the endgame. I think I have one or two more left, and then I'm done.Like most of Slim's work, very few punches are pulled. As a matter of fact, I can't think of a single instance of Slim pulling a punch. He tells it like it is. I found PIMP to be one of the bleakest, most depressing books I've ever read, and MAMA BLACK WIDOW is cut from this cloth.One word that I've never heard used to [...]

    6. This is a tough book to read but once you get through the first chapter and enter Otis' life you will find this a hard book to put down. Iceberg Slim provides a window into the life of a Black family that like so many others at that time joined the migration to the 'promised land', the North. They struggled to survive in the most difficult of circumstances. It is a tragedy but a real portrayal of the inhumane suffering that one family and others in their time in history in the Chicago ghetto sou [...]

    7. I've re-read this novel after many years and continue to love Iceberg Slim's gritty, great, poetic writing/language. The subject matter is brutal, honest and really tragic, written by a man who experienced and saw enough to give a voice (in this case to Otis )to those caught up in the dark underbelly of family and life in Chicago in the early 20th century. It's a masterpiece for a reason. Not for the faint hearted.

    8. A gritty and powerful story of Otis Tilson, a black drag queen trapped in a cruel queer ghetto underworld in the 1930's and 40's. In hopes of escaping the racial bigotry and economic injustice of the South, Otis’ family journeys north from their plantation to an urban promised land. Once in Chicago Otis and his brother and sisters become prisoners to a wasteland of violence, crime, prostitution and rape. I would need a ledger to list all of the sadness and injustices in this book, but what str [...]

    9. A Harrowing and visceral tale embroiled in misery, death and violence. This story is a story i do not want to go into detail about. This is a book that must br read. But be warned: You will not find a happy ending here.If i need to give one bit of critique is that the final few chapters of this book slow down on the very intense and horriffic tone which for some might be a bit off putting. But no matter what way you slice it from beginning to end this is an intense page turner that can be read i [...]

    10. A very depressing novel. Though there’s some errors in the writing and certain parts of the story can become torrid, it’s a solid book that shows life as someone homosexual in the 30’s-60’s. It also illustrates the struggles of a black family in Chicago during this time. It’s heartbreaking what the protagonist goes through and what happens to his family/friends. I really hated the mother.

    11. Robert Beck delivered again. Being a Gen X black male - I know what I have experienced in this life. But to reflect on social issues that affected my generation and to see how they affected the previous generations, such as the baby boomers in this book is what draws me to it. It's a very good book, with many tragic figures.

    12. This genre looking at life's dark side is not for everyone. However it is well written with a few editing errors. Iceberg Slim knows first hand the miseries of street life and relays them in captivating style.

    13. Read this book! Read it! For it is yet another Iceberg Slim novel of perfection—guaranteed to keep you up reading into the wee hours.

    14. It's not easy being a queer black man. Especially in 1940s - 50s Chicago. I read this because I was in the mood for something pulpy. This isn't a review, just some things I want to note so I can remember the language used."Ah jes hate white folks so much, Ah'm gonna' bus mah haht opun iffen Ah don bile en the leckrik chair. Ah got tu git way frum white folks, an stay way." - Mama"Ain't yu uh blip, Mama dahlin'? Heah ah am fatern uh goose wif frogskins an kickin' yo doe down whilst yu playin' pos [...]

    15. I am ashamed of having been ignorant of Iceberg Slim until very recently. The godfather of black American crime fiction, hero to artists as diverse as Walter Moseley and Ice-T, and real life thug, Slim was the quintessential outlaw who, as Irvine Welsh once said, did for the pimp and street hustler what William Burroughs did for the junkie and Jean Genet for the thief. Slim's pre-Civil Rights era Chicago is a pressure cooker of racism and exploitation, where the "paddies" (catch-all slur for whi [...]

    16. I ended up reading this as a way of backtracking from Goines. This wasn't quite as satisfying-- instead of a plotted novel, this is ostensibly an oral biography that the protagonist tells Iceberg Slim. I have no info to judge the veracity of that conceit, but its storytelling is awkward enough to make it credible.The protagoonist, Otis Wilson, is a gay transvestite who seem to be hemmed in by the pressure of his mother, who psychologically manipulates Wilson through most of his life. Wilson and [...]

    17. Iceberg Slim tells the story of a family plagued with so many of the horrors that plague the urban neighborhoods. Poverty, prostitution, violence, murder, drug deals, and grittiness that few are able to explain in a way that others can understand are easily visualized as Iceberg Slim spins this tale. A homosexual young man is struck with the difficult question of whether the way his mother has treated him is the cause of his inability to become aroused with a woman. He struggles to grasp the und [...]

    18. When I read Iceberg Slim's book "Pimp" I was so intrigued by the subject matter of his book "Mama Black Widow" that I had to read it. Stylish and poetic, with a tragic twist, the story about Otis "Tilly" (Sally) Tilson, a glamorous drag queen struggling to survive in Chicago, Illinois is painful and graphic enough to make it highly melodramatic but compelling all the same. Despite that,it still has a lovely humanistic side that made me really care about the characters and what they go through in [...]

    19. In a way I loved yet disliked the book (hence me giving it three stars) The characters I seemed to have "gave a crap" about the most was of course Otis, his father, Carol, and Soldier. I despised the mother in this book. She was so very ungrateful and ignorant not to mention very homicidal and when she felt that she wasn't the reason why her first unborn grandchild was killed I became very disgusted.I believe the death of the unborn baby as well as the Twins death was the most tragic sections in [...]

    20. Endlessly grim, but written with wit and verve.I'm surprised this book doesn't have more traction as a document of the bad old days of queer history - I had never heard of it before last week. It's a negative portrayal, yes, but it deals quite honestly with self-hatred and the pain and complications that follow from that.I'll admit that I enjoyed this as a melodramatic page-turner, although the relentless tragedy goes over the top by the midpoint and there's at least as much Perils of Pauline as [...]

    21. Delicious, grotesque, explicit and real. The first book I've finished before the sun rose the next day. Reminded me of the famous Gordon Parks photo series about the Fontenelle family.People have also mentioned Hubert Selby Jr. and that's not far off. Instead of Tralala and Georgette we are given Sally, a humdinger in her own right. And wait 'til you meet Mama. Mama Black Widow emits an uncanny sensation in which you wonder how much Chicago (and the world at large) has changed and how much has r [...]

    22. Another bleak, gritty, and occasionally brutal tale of black inner-city life from the author of Pimp The Story of My Life (the only other Iceberg Slim novel I've ever read). "Mama Black Widow" tells the true story of Otis Tilson, a gay drag queen growing up in 1930s and '40s Chicago. Definitely not feel-good reading. Slim pulls no punches in his descriptions of violence and poverty and the book is full of colourful racist language.

    23. I don't know what I was expecting from this but it was somewhat different from what I did think it would be like. Not to say it's bad- it's certainly not- I enjoyed it. It took a little while to get into for me, a little longer than I thought it would for sure, but once I got into it there was no turning back. The main character, Otis, is so real you feel like he's your brother (or sister depending) I was in awe of how much I was into the story once I really fell into it. I can't wait to read Pi [...]

    24. To me, this is one of the classics of the second half of the 20th century. A first person narrative where Slim takes on the personality of a truly complex individual. His dealings with Race, the expansion of the inner city, the terror of the south, and the experience of what it means to be left out of the mainstream is incredible.There are passages in this book that are still with me today. It is a novel that every American should read if they really want to understand the country they live in.- [...]

    25. It is amazing to me that Iceberg Slim is not more well known in the American mainstream press or even in schools. "Mama Black Widow" is probably one of the great American novels of the 20th Century. If this was going to be a film, only someone like Fassbinder could have filmed it. Also his "Pimp" should be required reading as well.I wrote an essay on Iceberg Slim on my TamTam Books Blog:tamtambooks-tosh/

    26. Ouch. The terrible things that happen in this book are difficult to quantify. Every time I thought things couldn't get worse for Otis a.k.a. Tillie a.k.a. Sweet Pea a.k.a Sally, they just did. This book is was supposedly told as a first person account to Iceberg Slim, who formatted and adjusted it into a story. I don't remember much from Pimp, but the dialogue in this book certainly does sound like an awkward re-telling, which doesn't necessarily hurt the story.

    27. I read the edition reissued by Old School Books, a series that I love of vintage African-American writing. This book tells the story of a family who moved to Chicago in the Great Migration, but through the eyes of schizophrenic crossdresser named Otis, who sometimes goes by Sally. The setting provides a snapshot of Chicago and its pre-Stonewall gay community, even with its oppression and violence.

    28. I chose "Mama Black Widow" after I read "Pimp" by the same author. The reviews said it was the most "racy". It was the story of a homosexual transvestite. Once again, Robert Beck, as Iceberg Slim delivers a tragic tale of Otis Tillman "Tillie", giving us an inside glance at the desperate attempt at self-fulfillment in a severely limited environment. Beck is realistic in the sexual encounters, but he does not overdue it. Does this level of racism still exist?

    29. So far, so good. Iceberg to me is better than Steinbeck; more readable, less overblown. The power is less in his characters but more in how he portrays humanity. There is no evil human, only evil actions, and they all stem from want. I was expecting more pulp and less literature when I checked this out from the library (undeniable prejudice on my part), and I must admit, I haven't been this tied to a book for a long time.

    30. Robert Beck writed about the underground black community of the 50s and 60's primarily but also the 70's. In this one, the subject is a man who is struggling with his queer identity. This book is so before its time. The ease and comfort with which he discusses the black queer community is awesome bc let most black folks from that era tell it, there were and are no gay black people and this is so contrary to that

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