QUEEN PIN by Jemeker Thompson-Hairston


A Memoir
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One woman’s testimonial of her journey from willful child to drug lord to servant of God.

With the assistance of veteran co-author Ritz (Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, 2009, etc.), Thompson-Hairston begins near the end, with the author hiding out in a luxurious Miami Beach hotel, fleeing incarceration. Though being on the lam didn’t faze her—she was well-equipped with fake IDs and numerous safe houses—she was extremely worried about the separation from her young son. The guilt drove her to return home to Los Angeles for his sixth-grade graduation, where federal agents awaited her arrival. Following her dramatic arrest outside her son’s school, the author presents herself “before the game.” Unfortunately, most of the real excitement has passed, and the remainder of the book is largely a recitation of facts and name-dropping. After a brief childhood stint at her grandmother’s in Mississippi, Thompson-Hairston returned to California with a vague sense of the importance of family and an aching desire for a boyfriend. She soon fell for Daff, the charming neighborhood pot dealer, and joined him in business, reaping the material benefits. However, while viewing the opulence on display during an episode of Dallas, she realized that she and Daff were only “hood rich.” So the author decided to increase the stakes by dealing in a more lucrative drug, cocaine. It went well. She and Daff built their empire, becoming suppliers to several cities and growing increasingly wealthy, and they shared their good fortune with their community, throwing barbecues and providing employment. The situation presents a unique scenario of drug dealer strictly as businessperson, never indulging, never losing control. But Thompson-Hairston doesn’t adequately explore this facet, and, without a drug-fueled implosion or violent mayhem—there are some fisticuffs and an off-screen, unexplored murder—the book lacks the salacious elements that make criminal memoirs compelling. Instead she went to prison and found God, and she gives Him all the glory.

Too shallow to satisfy as a memoir, but may appeal to believers.

Pub Date: June 22nd, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-446-54288-3
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Avon A/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2010


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