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Trick Baby

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,493 ratings  ·  59 reviews
This novel charts the rise of White Folks, a white negro who uses his colour as his trump card in the tough game of the con. Blue-eyed, light-haired and white-skinned, White Folks was a successful con man, a hustler in the jungle of Southside Chicago where only the sharpest survived.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Holloway House (first published January 1st 1969)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,493 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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Dec 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books. I fell in love with the main character Johnny O' brien and even tried to look him up to see if he was still alive! The story is about a mixed man who is so light he could pass for white. They referred to him as an Errol Flynn look alike in the book. If you google him you'll know the main character was FIONE! It tells of Johnny's black mother who was color struck and did not like black men. She married Johnny's father, an irish man, while he was drunk who soon le ...more
Mish Middelmann
Painful chronicle of the black male underclass of the USA in the 1940s. Written in the 60s by Robert Beck who lived a similar life of crime in the same era and later went straight and became a writer. The “Trick Baby” of the title is the very pale skinned son of a black woman who gets whacked by racism from both sides – and sometimes shares the insider talk on both sides of the race line.

What I liked about it was its no-holds-barred directness about how a life of crime can get chosen without evi
Jul 05, 2012 rated it liked it
I read this book after becoming a fan of Robert Beck. Anyone who considers themselves 'street smart' should read this book. Maybe 'squares' should read it too because it reveals things about life that everyone should be aware of! ...more
James Newman
Mar 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Ice Berg Slim is a true master of the word. His dialogue is dazzling. His cast so real you can almost touch them. "Pimp" is the book to start with, but Trick Baby is just as good and stands alone as a brilliant example of American writing.
Trick Baby is a term used for the offspring of a black prostitute who has given birth to a baby who is half white. The baby of a white John (client of the prostitute) is considered a trick baby. Half black. Half white.
After his mother is gang raped and put in
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
....I read this many years ago...It was given to me during a very cold winter, by a security guard at my college with whom I'd struck up a friendship...Very exciting, street-wise novel- and I don't remember much else about it- except one thing that I learned from the main character, that I've put to use many times since with great effect... Might be time to revisit more of this author's work. ...more
Sep 29, 2009 rated it liked it
mindblowing and crazy like memphis in the middle of the summer. just crunk for no reason!
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My main and only frustration about ICEBERG SLIM is the lack of recognition of his writing work! It is the third book I have read from him, to me, Pimp, Black mama widow and Trick baby are pure classical books! Nobody write like him, through his writing, I laughed, learnt, cried too many emotions over all this pages.
That man is genius , that really pisses me off to know he didn't get the right recognition he deserved, those books are diamond.
The environment is dark, poor, the total opposite of a
May 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: urban-literature
I personally think that this book was the best of all of Iceberg Slim's books.
Slim tells the story of a young man known as White Folks but who was referred to as Trick Baby. Born to an interracial couple in the ghetto, White Folks is bi-racial but appears to be Caucasian. After the marriage falls apart and his father leaves them, people assume that his mother was a prostitute and that his birth was the result of a "trick" (or sex with a john for those unaware of urban slang.) After White Folks'
Derek Shouba
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. I was really surprised how well this book stands up to Wright’s Black Boy of even Ellison’s Invisible Man in terms of its treatment of race. Okay, maybe that’s overkill, a pimp’s exaggeration. But this book is extremely clever, and equally funny and tragic. I am embarrassed that I’ve lived on the South Side of Chicago for so long without knowing more about this talented author. But that’s part of America’s race problem. You can live and die on the segregated South Side and never reali ...more
Corey Matthews
Not as Good as Pimp but just as interesting!

Great story, it starts off a little slow and lags in some portions but I enjoyed the read and there is one chapter called "Haters" that is simply powerful. This book is good because it situates the story within a racial and economic context and per usual Slim's analysis of human behavior is refreshingly spot on and raw. I recommend it!
Doris walkins
Jan 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is about a bi racial man who appears to be white, being raised by his black mother in a black community that both ridicules him for supposedly being the product of prostitution and reveres him for being able to cross the color line and live a life not held back by the mere fact that one is black skinned
T Ramon
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great story! Incredible detail on life in the Chicago ghettos of 20 's & 30's. One hell of an adventure. It took me a few chapters to get conned into the tale but by the end I was ready to read the sequel. Slim is a slick and prolific ghetto fiction writer that should be better recognized for his incredible works. ...more
Dec 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly poetic collection of con-man heists / Odyssey-like tragic hero epic set in 1940's Chicago that doubles as a deep, raw, but fascinating introspection of race and identity in America. Was surprised how much I enjoyed this book, albeit hesitant to reveal its cover. ...more
Jessica Holter
Jul 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Everybody it a trick sometimes, and everybody is a pimp.
Sep 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Iceberg Slim tells the story of a blue eyed, light haired, white skinned Negro called "White Folks" He was the most incredible con man the ghetto ever spawned!
Sep 12, 2009 rated it liked it
This book was made into a film that I remember was pretty good.

Not at good as Iceberg's first book. I just didn't find White Folks as compelling a character. ...more
Frank García
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Love Iceberg’s work, but just could never get into this, despite the hype.
Great story about conning.
Jul 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I read all Slims books honest stories of the street back when....
Jeffrey Powanda
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Boisterous ghetto novel by legendary Sixties writer Iceberg Slim (a.k.a Robert Beck). It's about a mixed-race, blue-eyed, light-skinned hustler named Johnny O'Brien, whose friends call him White Folks because he can pass for white, and his enemies call him Trick Baby. The fast-paced story is set mainly in Chicago in the Thirties through the Fifties. It is suffused with sex, violence, booze, and drugs.

As a teenager right out of reform school, White Folks is taken under the wing of a local hustle
James Lawther
Mar 21, 2021 rated it liked it
Slim wrote novels about what he knew — hustling on the unforgiving streets of Chicago. He recounts the bleak story of a man who is born with few opportunities, striving to make the best of what he has.

Whilst there is plenty of criminal activity, this book might be better pegged as urban literature, not crime fiction. Trick Baby is an enlightening but depressing insight into the lives of the poor, black, criminal underclass of mid 20th century America.

Slim shone a painfully honest light on the tr
Black Carrie
Feb 26, 2021 rated it liked it
This book was so explosive!!! The characters got on my nerves especially w| all the greed . From the jump I didn’t like Blue he was just too sprung and brutal towards women he just surrounded himself by people who he could manipulate even a young boy like John . White folks had it so hard growing up I cried ..... his character gained my sympathy.....
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Book

I ran across this book totally by mistake, I can't tell you how pleased I was. This is just a very interesting story about a con man in mid 20th century conman in Chicago who fits in neither the black or white world.
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Can be hard to read in places due to archaic slang but that story is brutal, raw, seedy, and about a world very different from what most would know. An interesting look at a place, time, and experience.
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Imma give it 5 cause it was entertaining. I hate all the pauses it denied me a fast read, but everything was like. White folks is a white nigger that plays the con with mastery but hoes Con the niggers out.
Watch-out for them hoes playing the Con to you.
Bradford Philen
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I couldn’t put this book down. An unforgettable story with unforgettable characters. I’m late to Iceberg Slim, and this is the first of his works I’ve read, but the plot, the drama, the voices are well worth it. This is real story-telling! Highly recommend!
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Iceberg Slim should be in the American canon of great writers. Read him.
Chad Montabon
Nov 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-ranking
I enjoyed it. It wasn't as grim as 'Pimp', but the 'Phala' sub-plot goes into the same territory. ...more
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Amazingly descriptive writing !!
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Iceberg Slim, also known as Robert Beck, was born as Robert Lee Maupin. Novelist and poet whose most famous novel, Pimp, is semi-autobiographical.

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