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From one of the most revolutionary writers of the 20th century, the uncensored and gritty novel that inspired today’s street lit and hip hop culture.
“After my ninth birthday I began to really understand the meaning of my name. I began to understand just what my mother was doing for a living. There was nothing I could do about it, but even had I been able to, I wouldn’t have changed it.”
Whoreson Jones is the son of a beautiful black prostitute and an unknown white john. As a child, he’s looked after by his neighborhood’s imposing matriarch, Big Mama, while his mother works. At age twelve, his street education begins when a man named Fast Black schools him in trickology. By thirteen, Whoreson’s a cardsharp. By sixteen, his childhood abruptly ends, and he is a full-fledged pimp, cold-blooded and ruthless, battling to understand and live up to his mother’s words, “First be a man, then be a pimp.”
“All those [other black] writers, no matter how well they dealt with black experience, appealed largely to an educated, middle-class, largely white readership. They brought news of one place to the residents of another. Goines’ novels, on the other hand, are written from ground zero. They are almost unbearable. It is not the educated voice of a writer who has, so to speak, risen above his background. It is the voice of the ghetto itself.” —Michael Covino, The Village Voice
About the Author
Donald Goines was born in Detroit, Michigan. He joined the U.S. Air Force instead of going into his family’s dry cleaning business. Following his service, he entered into a life of drug addiction and crime. He received seven prison sentences, serving a total of over six years. While he was in prison, Goines wrote his first two novels, Dopefiend: The Story of a Black Junkie and Whoreson: The Story of a Ghetto Pimp. Goines was shot to death in 1974.