Monday, August 13, 2007

This is Going to Be an Interesting Book am a big fan of HBO's series, The Wire, which takes a look at the epic struggle between Baltimore's drug dealers and police. There are no good guys or bad guys in the show. Everyone is tainted. The drug dealers, at least in the first two seasons, were better organized than the police and ran their operations on principles learned in business school. The police, in contrast, were often just out for themselves.

Two seasons ago the creators introduced one of the creepiest characters of the series. It was "Snoop," a young woman who didn't seem to have a shred of compassion for anyone. She was a gun for hire, loyal only to the drug dealer who hired her. When she killed, her face was expressionless.

I soon learned that the producers of The Wire had hired a number of Baltimore street kids and one of them Felicia Pearson, who played Snoop. Pearson's life story was as chilling as it gets. She was born addicted to crack and was thrown into the foster care system. She started to deal drugs when she was a teenager, and was sent to jail after she killed someone, apparently in self-defense. Upon her release, someone introduced her to David Simon, the creator of the show. He hired her to play a thinly-veiled version of herself.

Pearson sold her memoir, according to Publisher's Marketplace:

Actress Felicia "Snoop" Pearson and David Ritz's GRACE AFTER MIDNIGHT, about growing up on the rough streets of Baltimore, transforming from a cross-eyed crack baby to a hardened teenage drug dealer, spending her adolescence in prison after killing a woman in self-defense, and turning her life around with a role in HBO's The Wire, to Karen Thomas at Grand Central, in a good deal, by Michael Harriot at Vigliano Associates (World).

The Wire presents such a bleak portrait of urban America. The story of Pearson is a reminder there are small victories amid all the despair.

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