cover image The Boy Kings of Texas

The Boy Kings of Texas

Domingo Martinez. Globe Pequot/Lyons, $16.95 trade paper (456p) ISBN 978-0-7627-7919-2

Opening with the brutal tale of the murder of a beloved pet avenged, Seattle journalist Martinez's memoir of growing up in Texas in the 70s and 80s along the Mexican border is an emotional roller coaster rendered in exquisite detail. Struggling with his cultural identity and the usual kaleidoscope of adolescent emotions, Martinez felt like a perpetual outsider. Even more marginalized by his family's emotional reserve and propensity for violence (physical as well as emotional), he eventually finds solace in substances before moving to Seattle to live with his older brother in hopes of a more peaceful and productive life. But old habits die hard. Once there, Martinez finds himself sucked into an emotional whirlpool once again; the violence he thought he left in Texas follows him, as do his demons. Though written with a strong, clear voice, Martinez goes into often lengthy digressions, frequently losing his momentum and, occasionally, the thread of conversation between writer and reader. Still, this fascinating and sometimes horrifying account of growing up Hispanic in a Texas border town is an artfully rendered take on family, community, and one man's journey to adulthood. (July)