Thursday, August 12, 2010
"Pimp: The Story Of My Life" by Iceberg Slim
Just fell into reading this when I mislaid the book i was in the middle of. It's reeeeaaaaly good. I always expected it to be some half assed 'the art of war' meets Superfly 70's thing, tittilating but mostly cringeworthy. Instead It's
actually set between the 30's and the 50's, it's really well written and it's not so much a memoir as an 'autobigraphical novel'. Iceberg Slim (Robert Beck) was a highly succesful pimp and legendary figuire in the Chicago Underworld of the 40's and 50's, but after his third prison term, he decided to get out of the life, and in the early sixties he moved to LA to become a writer. "Pimp: The Story Of My Life" was his first novel. It's impossible to know which parts are more or less embellished, certainly a few of the scenes seem a little more hokey than others, but for the most it seems frighteningly real, and honest too.
It's incredibly brutal and not recommended for everybody (these excerpts are on the tame side), but if you can hack it it's a compelling read and a fascinating window into the psychology of a relationship that isn't hard to transpose into more familiar
settings, as well as a thrilling glimpse into the underworld of 1940's Black Chicago, and just great hard-boiled crime writing.