The Boy Kings of Texas: A Memoir

The Boy Kings of Texas: A Memoir, by Domingo Martinez ($10.98)

Amazon:  A lyrical and authentic book that recounts the story of a border-town family in Brownsville, Texas in the 1980’s, as each member of the family desperately tries to assimilate and escape life on the border to become “real” Americans, even at the expense of their shared family history. This is really un-mined territory in the memoir genre that gives in-depth insight into a previously unexplored corner of America.

There is a wonderful interview with the author here.

Other comments:“Old-fashioned, high-quality storytelling makes Domingo Martinez’s first book, The Boy Kings of Texas, completely captivating. Martinez delivers a lyrical and unblinking account of life in the border town of Brownsville, Texas.”
— Caitlin Reid,

“Domingo Martinez writes like an angel—an avenging angel who instead of bringing wrath to a fallen world redeems it by using beautiful prose to turn the most awful and gritty realities into transcendent gems. This is also a significant historical document, a first person account that reveals one corner of America as it has seldom been seen. What a voice, what a story, what a testament to the transforming power of self-knowledge and the right choice of words.”
—Carlos Eire, author of Waiting for Snow in Havana, winner of the National Book Award

“ . . . the narrative brims with candid, palpable emotion . . . Martinez lushly captures the mood of the era and illuminates the struggles of a family hobbled by poverty and a skinny Latino boy becoming a man amid a variety of tough circumstances. A finely detailed, sentimental family scrapbook inscribed with love.” —Kirkus Reviews
“. . . [A]n emotional roller coaster rendered in exquisite detail.”
Publishers Weekly

“Old-fashioned, high-quality storytelling makes an excerpt from Domingo Martinez’s first book, The Boy Kings of Texas, completely captivating. Martinez delivers a lyrical and unblinking account of family life in the border town of Brownsville, Texas. The characters in Martinez’s memoir are brutal as often as they are lovable. . . . While it is hard to describe poverty in a lighthearted manner, Martinez chooses humor and wisdom over tragedy in his storytelling.”


“. . . Seattle writer Domingo Martinez’s memoir, The Boy Kings of Texas, is a hilarious and heartbreaking story of a sensitive soul who grows up in the macho barrio of Brownsville, Texas. . . . Martinez has a gift for storytelling, with alternately good-natured and sardonic wit, and quirky pop culture reference points.” —Seattle Times
“With The Boy Kings of Texas, a new and important truth about those Rio Grande Valley border towns like Brownsville and McAllen has finally emerged, one that takes into account the brainy boys of the barrio who read Cyrano de Bergerac between waiting tables at the Olive Garden, and play hooky at the Holiday Inn in order to discuss foreign films. Sure, there have always been stories about smart kids who want to leave town or risk going nowhere in life. In the Valley, where there is also a high chance of succumbing to border violence, Martinez unveils the lives of smart kids who feel they need to leave town or else simply die of boredom.” —Dallas News
“The Boy Kings of Texas is a spirited confession in the tradition of smart, self-deprecating comedies about young manhood like Robert Graves’ Good-Bye to All That and early Philip Roth. Martinez weaves artful comic asides with anecdotes about poverty so crushing that it leads to the death of his friends.” —Texas Observer
 “This compelling, often heart-warming book explores how Martinez and his family tried to find their place in Brownsville. . . . The Boy Kings of Texas alternates between serious, often violent stories, such as the uncle who beats up Martinez in a cocaine-fueled rage, and humorous stories showing his family’s softer, loving side. Often, the most moving chapters combine humor with a dark undertone. For example, Martinez writes about how his sisters dealt with their own feelings of inferiority by creating two blonde, Anglo alter-egos.” —San Antonio Express-News
“There is no easy resolution to this personal journey told through a series of anecdotes that range from hilarious to heartbreaking. Martinez simply splays out the different chapters of his life with a raw honesty that dispels the myth of the big happy Hispanic family and critiques the codes of machismo that lead to reckless choices. An incredibly engaging read and full of colorful characters that keep the writing vibrant. . . .” —El Paso Times
“Martinez’s story is heartrending and uncomfortable, but he maintains a surprising sense of humor that keeps his reader cringing and rooting for him. A starkly honest memoir of growing up on the Texas-Mexican border in the 1970s and ‘80s, with a wry twist.” —Shelf Awareness

“[The Boy Kings of Texas] . . . offers experiences that readers will find informative and emotionally engaging. . . . Empathetic teens will be engaged by Martinez’s emotionally rich story.” —Booklist


Straight Outta Brownsville

Domingo Martinez was born in Texas, but he left as soon as he could.
His very funny memoir explains why.

by David Dorado Romo

1 Comment »

  1. […] Click here for information about the current book from our Wednesday Night Book Club. Click here for more information about the book: […]

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