Publisher/Date: Grand Central Publishing, Nov. 2007
Genre(s): Lesbian Real Life, Street Life
“I’m not making excuses and I’m not feeling sorry for myself. Don’t expect you to feel sorry for me either. Just want to tell my story while it’s fresh.”
And so begins GRACE AFTER MIDNIGHT, the striking autobiography of Felicia “Snoop” Pearson, star of the critically acclaimed HBO series, The Wire. In the short but poignant memoir written with David Ritz, Snoop recants her upbringing in the tough streets of Baltimore, the place that both raised and almost killed her.
Born with cross-eyes and crack in her system thanks to a drug-addicted mother, Snoop had much to overcome in the first moments of her life. She was no more than three pounds at birth, but surpassed the grim expectations placed on her. After years in foster care, she was taken in by a loving older couple, Cora and Levi Pearson. They offered her a good home with Christian values and worked to make sure Snoop had a better life.
Yet it didn’t stop her from taking on the streets. By her pre-teens, Snoop had her first taste as runner whose quiet strength took her far in the game. At 12 years old, she was witnessing murders, drug deals, shakedowns, and way too much for a girl her age. One of her mentors, a man known as “Uncle,” took Snoop under his wing and tried to get her abandon her dangerous behavior, but it was too little too late when Snoop ended in the Jessup State Penitentiary at 14 for murder.
Snoop recalls this night in third person and tells the story of how she ended up killing a girl in self-defense. It landed her a six-year sentence for second-degree murder, but ultimately saved her. While there she turned her life around, gaining a new appreciation for doing the right thing. With Uncle’s help, she left there feeling like she could do anything – and quickly found her good intentions weren’t worth much. That is, until she met Michael K. Williams from The Wire, landing the role of a lifetime with no acting experience.
The rest is history.
Snoop’s story is compelling and heart wrenching. You see the innocence of a child wanting her mother and a heart growing cold from rejection. You also glimpse a woman truly turning her life around, trying to obtain the grace after midnight she found in prison. And you also witness a woman true to her sexuality, being openly gay all her life.
For that, she should be applauded. Bravo, Snoop, bravo.
Reviewed May 2008