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Once a King, Always a King: The Unmaking of a Latin King Paperback – October 1, 2004


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Once a King, Always a King: The Unmaking of a Latin King + My Bloody Life: The Making of a Latin King + Lady Q: The Rise and Fall of a Latin Queen
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556525532
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556525537
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“Courageously honest.”  —Washington Post Book World


“Sanchez’s story of survival in the face of great odds rings true.”  —Publishers Weekly

More About the Author

Reymundo Sanchez is the pseudonym of a former Latin King who no longer lives in Chicago. He is the author of My Bloody Life.

Customer Reviews

All in all I loved this book and the message it sends.
Ana Mallory
The best part about the book is that it makes the reader feel like he or she can do anything.
hip
I just got her the second book and she read it then I read it.
Norma I Rosario

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Evans on January 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"I just want to know why me, why...me!" Reymundo Sanchez wails during an explosive argument with his estranged sister about how, as a child, he suffered years of abuse at the hands of their mother. That question, which occurs about two-thirds of the way through this sorrowful memoir, haunts every page of this book, and indeed seems to have been the theme of much of Mr. Sanchez's scarred, young life.

Born in 1963 to a 16-year-old mother and a 74-year-old father in the hilltop village of Cayey, Puerto Rico, Sanchez (a nom de guerre) survived being raped and beaten by his 18-year-old cousin at age five. After his father died, his mother quickly remarried, decamped Puerto Rico, and moved the family to Chicago. There, Sanchez suffered another wave of physical and psychological torment from his mother and stepfather (and, subsequently, a third father figure named "Pedro") while his sisters seemed to escape much, if not all, of the mistreatment. At 13, Sanchez found himself alone on the mean streets of Chicago, after his mother cast him out of the family home.

By the mid-1970s, the Latin Kings had established themselves as a highly organized megagang in Chicago, and their mantra "Amor de Rey" ("King Love") seemed to hold the promise of a better, if not love-filled existence for Sanchez, who quickly joined. To his dismay, though, he found only further violence and ruinous relationships in his newly adopted "family." Still, as a gang member, there were other castaways with whom he could relate, and although he hated what was required of him to maintain his membership, at least he felt a sense of belonging.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sandburg on July 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
I would defiantly recommend this book to a few of my friends. I think that instead of agreeing with the way that gangs are it really helps to show you all the bad things that are involved. I would really like to show this book to the friends that I have that "think" they are gang bangers or want to be. He is letting you know that you wont be able to live your own life and that you will be stuck following behind another criminal and stuck doing the things that they do. "I hope and pray that other people who secretly live in pain because of sexual, mental, and physical abuse get professional help before they turn around and cause the same kind of lifelong pain and suffering on some one that love, who loves them."(xiv). I really liked this book because of the incredibly interesting events that you don't really hear about every day, the point it is trying to make is positive and influential, and the fact that it is a real story trying to help you prevent the same mistakes. "The drive-by shooter hit one of Loca's two kids. I ran to him and cradled him in my arms but he was already dead"(2). I also like that he influences you to go to school and try to improve your education to get out and stay out of that life style. It gives really good advice that all of the people on the streets should listen to. I would recommend it because it really helps to get a really good point across that gangs aren't what they say they are and that they are really a lot worse than you think.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I enjoy reading, in fact their is nothing that I enjoy more then curling up with a good book. I finished Part I, and when I realized their was a part II I ran to the bookstore and picked it up, this book is amazing, very easy to read, keeps you captivated from the moment you start to reading it, very exciting, and you only wish you can locate his mother and find out why she did the things she did. I am a native of Chicago and very familiar with all of the streets, and even Bellas Pizza, you only wish you could have been around to give the author the love he needed growing up. An excellent book, I highly recommend it.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By mary on February 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
After reading Reymundo Sanchez's first book "My Bloody Life", i wanted to know more. I was excited when i heard there was a second autobiography! This was a great book, and needless to say, i finished it two days! Yes, there is excitement from the beginning to the end, but this isnt a book only for those involved in a gang or associated with that lifestyle. Reymundo reminds us ALL that with hardwork and determination, you too can succeed. Enjoy.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I read "My Bloody Life" in two days, and immediately picked up the next installment, "Once a King, Always a King". Last year through Americorps, I taught in an elemenatary school near Humboldt Park, with the majority of kids coming from that neighborhood. These books gave me insights on two levels. First, it gave me a glimpse of what some of these students go home to, and what their life is like after the bell rang at 3. I did not grow up in an inner city neighborhood, so these books are extremely valuable. Second, and most importantly, it gave me a sense how the parents of these children grew up, and how these cycles of behavior that Sanchez describes in the book are being repeated in their children and grandchildren with whom I worked. I work with children again this year, and now have a new sense of urgency to help these cycles of self-destruction stop. However, despite my best efforts, my words and actions cannot be validated in the same way that Sanchez's can - I did not grow up poor, surrounded by gang violence, etc. In that way, I applaud Sanchez's ability to be so candid and honest, for that is the only way to get his message across. I also applaud his ability to take ownership and responsibility for his actions, and rather than hide them, he boldly confronts them, challenges them, and grows. I could only imagine the demons that he confronted and overcame. He is a true hero in a time when we care more about who Jennifer Lopez sleeps with than children who are destroying themselves. So, I personally would like to thank him for giving fuel to the fight not just against gang violence, but against violence in general and injustices. It is a must read for, well, anyone. Oh, and by the way, Mr.Read more ›
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