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Showing 1-10 of 74 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 96 reviews
on February 13, 2016
Otis Tilson, a drag queen, recalls his life as a child on a Southern cotton plantation and of his families move in 1936 to the supposed Utopia of Chicago. His domineering and controlling Mama, who forced the move to Chicago,aids and abets the destruction of her family as much as the cruel and unforgiving ghetto they live in.....
This is realism at its most brutal ; it hits you full on, but there is also huge depth to this novel. The disintegration of a family and humanity; the destruction of an honest father who wants no more than to provide for his family are every bit as powerful as Steinbeck's depiction of the collapse of the Joads in 'Grapes of Wrath' (though the Mama's were of a different type !) And all portrayed against the realism of a corrupt police force (one that has been well recorded since) and the denial of any hope simply due to being black, and the festering wound that this left and leaves.
The book opens and ends in 1968/9 where Otis learns of Martin Luther Kings murder ; where evil once again triumphs over innocence and peaceful human ways of finding justice are destroyed.
I found 'Mama Black Widow' far more powerful and real than James Baldwin's 'Another Country' , which gets far more recognition-and follows broadly similar themes- than Iceberg Slim's novel. I would go as far as to say that 'Mama Black Widow' is the novel James Baldwin tried to write when he wrote 'Another Country'.
A brutal and sympathetic book that deserves far more widespread recognition and reading.
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on July 12, 2013
Read this book 30-40 years ago and misplaced my copy of it (probably still in the house somewhere) It was a VERY good read, so I decided to get it again. Gives interesting insight to one mans' life growing up in the south and his family migrating to one of the northern states, and their struggles along the way and after they get there. This author been long dead, but he wrote some very interesting books that will always be in my collection, and I do recommend, if you like this genre.
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on March 26, 2017
loved his books
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on April 14, 2017
Thanks.
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on February 18, 2017
It's too drawn out what was the point all over the place
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on February 6, 2014
Iceberg got deep in this book. It is a must read for insight on the early Development and mindset of the Black man, the homosexual man, the black women and the oppression in this homophobic society. If u are looking for answers they are clearly cleverly hidden behind the walls of this masterpiece. Only gave it four stars because I wanted more.
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on February 6, 2016
Everything I've read by Iceberg Slim has been superb. "Mama Black Widow" is no exception.

Have a drink ready. Its a very depressing book. But its like a train wreck, you simply can't tear your eyes away.
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on September 23, 2013
I totally enjoyed reading the book. It was true to life and mesmerizing. Iceberg slim is an excellent writher. I felt like a fly on the wall at all the scenes in the book. The grammatical errors were few and I understood the book. This is a must read even in the 21st century. It is still relevant.
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on September 22, 2010
...of what black Americans have had to endure in this country. Coming from a white woman that has always had very close African American friends and family and never really understood the deep seeded hatred many black folks have toward their history with white folks.

I was born in 1970 and always seen white/black as equal perhaps because I've always felt us as such. But this book really took me to a place where I could recognize the oppression of black folks and what a nightmare, hellish experience for so many in the early 1900's. Beck takes you right there.

A very gritty, sad and tragic book but for some reason one of my favorites. I liked this one much more than Pimp. I'm looking forward to Trick Baby.
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on January 12, 2014
Just like all books I have read from ICEBERG Slim IT WAS A GOOD BOOK. It begins with Otis' current life and goes back into his past of how he grows up with his parents and siblings and never having felt what real love feels like. I love the story of the mother's manipulation of Otis throughout his life. The back story on the events of the family felt very real and the writing style gave you a perfect visual of his life. The battle of fighting his gay lifestyle was very real and you felt his inner turmoil The traumatic events were described so well you actually felt the pain. I enjoyed it very much. I would recommend this book.
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