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Once A King, Always A King: The Unmaking of a Latin King



Softback: 304 pages
Publisher: Chicago Review Press, 2004
Height: 9.0 in
Width: 6.1 in
ISBN: 1556525532

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Once A King, Always A King

The Unmaking of a Latin King

by Reymundo Sanchez

As a sequel to My Bloody Life, Sanchez’s memoir of sex, drugs and violence in the Chicago street gang the Latin Kings, the author recounts the hardships of postgang life. He vividly describes the struggle to separate himself from his previous “drunken, drug-crazed, violent” persona. Initially, the temptations of his “past glory” prove irresistible, and while he does not rejoin the gang, he moves back to the ‘hood, gets involved with drugs and eventually goes to prison for possession. Incarceration, however, becomes a “blessing in disguise”; Sanchez spends most days “reading the Bible, sketching, and writing poetry.” His rosy view of prison is a product of his past as a King, because their network in jail gives him protection and respect. Once released, he finds himself alone and tormented by horrifying memories of physical and sexual abuse and a deep sense of worthlessness, but he manages to get a job and learns to feel “the peacefulness of his freedom.” Eventually, Sanchez finds his “soul mate” in Marilyn, an educated Puerto Rican woman from the Bronx whom he idolizes but later abuses, projecting onto her his resentment against his unloving mother. This detailed history can be exhaustive in its graphic, unsettling depictions of sex and violence, and Sanchez’s prose is often clichéd: “She spoke softly and moved in a way that said, ‘I’m all woman.'” The book also lacks specific year references (Sanchez explains he’s concealing essentials to protect himself and other people). But in the end, Sanchez’s story of survival in the face of great odds rings true.

4 Comments for “Once A King, Always A King: The Unmaking of a Latin King”

  1. Cadie

    This was an amazing book that opened my eyes to an entirely different world. I couldn’t recommend it more after reading My Bloody Life

  2. i love this book it is really nice and i like it (: i will love it if u can make it into a movie… that will really be nice more people will wont to watch it u should think about it …..>3

    • Luis Floers

      That would be an amazing idea and I am also with that movie. It would open the eyes of everyone and I believe it would help people understand.

  3. Luis Floers

    This book was very powerful. I always wanted to become a Latin King and when I red the book “My Bloody Life” I was even more love with them until the end of the book. This book showed me that living a gangster life isnt always what should be done. It showed me that all of our actions will lead us somewhere but not always to a good somewhere. I have now fallin’ away from trying to become a gangbanger and started to go to a Catholic school and I am very greatful for this book. To any body who would want to read it I very much recomend it. But before you read “Once A King Always A King” you should all read “My Bloody Life” first.
    Thank you Reymundo Sanchez

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