Lyrical and gritty, this authentic coming-of-age story about a border-town family in Brownsville, Texas, insightfully illuminates a little-understood corner of America.
"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 This is also a significant historical document, a first person account that reveals one corner of America as it has seldom been seen.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" and 2003 National Book Award winner
“. . . [A]n emotional roller coaster rendered in exquisite detail.”
“. . . [T]he narrative brims with candid, palpable emotion. . . . A finely detailed, sentimental family scrapbook inscribed with love.”
“. . . 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.”
“Though Martinez’s memoir is largely about growing up outside Brownsville with an abusive father and an uninvolved mother, it deals with much more than the usual stuff that sends people to shrinks. There’s advice on everything from how to cook tamales to the best way to transport marijuana from Brownsville to Houston. The book also offers plenty of material for readers interested in broader issues such as immigration, border violence, and other topical mattersfronterizo writers have to deal with if they want to get published. But Martinez’s sharp wit, deployed even during the most painful moments, distinguishes The Boy Kings of Texas from much of the writing on these subjects. . . . [M]agic shows up everywhere in The Boy Kings of Texas.”
"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 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. "
-- Caitlin Reid
NewPages.com Literary Review
The Boy Kings of Texas is a charming, painful and enlightening study of family, the traumas and pleasures of growing up and the often terrible consequences when two very different cultures collide on the banks of a dying river.