Pearson’s memoir is even more horrifying than the cold-blooded killer she portrays on The Wire.
Born a cross-eyed crack baby in East Baltimore, the author was soon in foster care. Her mother paid infrequent visits (locking her in a closet and selling her clothes to buy crack during one of them) and then stopped coming altogether. Her doting and religious foster parents did their best, but their neighborhood was riddled with drug dealers, and Pearson, an industrious but fidgety tomboy, couldn’t resist the siren call of the streets. She witnessed her first murder in sixth grade and soon acquired the moniker “Snoop,” a personal arsenal and a rep for being dead-eyed crazy. At 15, she fatally shot a woman who came after her with a bat; she got a relative break with a sentence of only five years. In prison, Pearson got her GED and stayed out of trouble. She even had a moment of revelation when the workings of the universe were at least briefly made clear. Her loving relationship (of a sort) with a prison guard provides one of the narrative’s less-expected moments, and the subject of Pearson’s homosexuality is handled with surprisingly unconventional directness. With the help of veteran co-author David Ritz (Faith in Time: The Life of Jimmy Scott, 2002, etc.), she tells her story in prose that has the same laconic, hypnotic clarity with which she delivers her lines on The Wire. Having been dealt such a raw hand by life, Pearson’s happenstance discovery in a bar by an actor on the show makes a welcome end to this captivating, brutally honest tale of a life that came perilously close to being a complete waste.
A hard-luck tale that never asks for pity.