My Bloody Life: The Making of a Latin King

( 174 )

Overview

Looking for an escape from childhood abuse, Reymundo Sanchez turned away from school and baseball to drugs, alcohol, and then sex, and was left to fend for himself before age 14. The Latin Kings, one of the largest and most notorious street gangs in America, became his refuge and his world, but its violence cost him friends, freedom, self-respect, and nearly his life. This is a raw and powerful odyssey through the ranks of the new mafia, where the only people more dangerous than rival gangs are members of your ...
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Overview

Looking for an escape from childhood abuse, Reymundo Sanchez turned away from school and baseball to drugs, alcohol, and then sex, and was left to fend for himself before age 14. The Latin Kings, one of the largest and most notorious street gangs in America, became his refuge and his world, but its violence cost him friends, freedom, self-respect, and nearly his life. This is a raw and powerful odyssey through the ranks of the new mafia, where the only people more dangerous than rival gangs are members of your own gang, who in one breath will say they'll die for you and in the next will order your assassination.

Author Biography: Reymundo Sanchez is the pseudonym of a former Latin King who no longer lives in Chicago.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
The courageously honest Once a King, Always a King: The Unmaking of a Latin King resumes his 2000 memoir of gang wars, My Bloody Life. — Stephen J. Lyons
ralphmag.org
Tells us perhaps more than we might want to know about gang life.
Jesse White
A brutal, chilling firsthand account of how a young person who is raised without positive family values will reach out to a gang to find a support system and a substitute family. This book offers new insights into what lures kids into gangs and how difficult it can be for them to get out alive. It shockingly explains how difficult life can be for disadvantaged youngsters and demands that we make a greater effort at improving their lives.
Chicago Magazine
A viciously candid, self-deprecating memoir.
Chicago
A viciously candid, self-deprecating memoir.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Chicago in the 1980s provides the setting for this extremely disturbing and raw account of a Puerto Rican teenager who lost himself to violent gang activity. Now repentant, Sanchez (a pseudonym) writes in a voluble voice, replete with operatic asides declaiming the immorality of his actions. But he offers a forceful and unusual perspective on Chicago--in Sanchez's telling, it's a place of territorial graffiti and racist cops, in which a slow-motion riot of drugs, sex and gunplay constantly unfolds. Sanchez recounts his family's arrival in Chicago's Northwest Side in the late 1970s, when he was a small boy; he describes the beatings his grifter stepfather regularly doled out; and he portrays the allure of the mysterious and ritual-bound lives of tough, teenaged gangsters. When his family returned to Puerto Rico, he stayed behind. Soon, he joined the fearsome Latin Kings, and his given street name "Lil Loco" attested to his youth and ferocity. While graphically describing what he witnessed as a gang member--senseless killings, inter-ethnic hatreds and sexual abuse of gang-affiliated women--Sanchez also pursues harder truths, arguing that it is a minority of promiscuous drug-users accompanied by community-wide silence that keeps the gangs in business. In the end, he condemns his former gang for masquerading as a Latino "public service" organization while high-ranking members become rich from their youthful recruits' drug dealing. And he scoffs at their reliance on conformist rituals and violence (violations of the rituals were punished with full body beatings). Offering very little hope, this book captures the dark, self-destructive lot of countless urban teens. Like other gangland memoirs (such as Monster and Always Running), it is significant because it takes the reader deep inside a secretive and brutal ethnic gang subculture. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Both (7/27/00) and (7/17/00) have good reviews of the original, 2000, edition of this raw memoir. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

“A brutal, chilling firsthand account of how a young person who is raised without positive family values will reach out to a gang to find a support system and a substitute family. This book offers new insights into what lures kids into gangs and how difficult it can be for them to get out alive. It shockingly explains how difficult life can be for disadvantaged youngsters and demands that we make a greater effort at improving their lives.” —Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State and founder of the Jesse White Tumblers, an anti-gang and -drug program

“A slow-motion riot of drugs, sex and gunplay.” —Publishers Weekly

“Sanchez writes plainly and powerfully.” —Booklist

“A viciously candid, self-deprecating memoir.” —Chicago magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556524271
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/2000
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 73,967
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author


Reymundo Sanchez is the pseudonym of a former Latin King who no longer lives in Chicago.
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Read an Excerpt

The Vicelords hung out on Hoyne and Crystal streets not far from the Unknowns 'hood. That's where we headed. Pebbles and I sat in the rear of the van, Hercules drove, and Morena sat on the front passenger seat. Leo called Pebbles up to the front. I heard him say "give this to that brother so he can take care of business." Pebbles came back to where I was and handed me a sawed off shotgun. I was scared out of my mind. I was about to be tested again. Damn I wished I was in Puerto Rico!

A few seconds later the van stopped. Hercules came to the back and asked for the shotgun. I was relieved thinking that I wouldn't have to use it on anybody, but he only had forgotten to load it. Hercules loaded the shotgun and demonstrated how to use it. "See my brother you pull the trigger then pump it, pull the trigger again then pump it again until its empty," Hercules instructed me. Shotgun shells flew out of the top of the gun every time he pumped it. (He never actually pulled the trigger.) Hercules reloaded it, gave it to me, and again we were on our way. Pebbles lit up a joint and sat next to me. She gave me the joint and started kissing me on my neck and whispering about what she would do to me if I shot a Vicelord for her. I stared at the shotgun, not knowing what to do.

Pebbles took it out of my hands, put it under a blanket then kissed me. I was tongue kissing and feeling up Pebbles' body when Morena came back and told us that we had arrived at our destination. She advised me to get ready then she went back into the front.

Pebbles looked out the window and pointed out the Vicelords for me. She grabbed my groin, squeezed gently, kissed me, and told me that the sooner I got it over with, the quicker I could have her. I made up my mind right there and then to go ahead with the whole thing.

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Table of Contents

Preface xv
1 La Familia 1
2 Chicago 4
3 Humboldt Park 8
4 The Beatings Begin 15
5 The Spanish Lords 23
6 Murder in the 'Hood 32
7 My Teacher Maria 43
8 No Paradise 51
9 No Home 53
10 Jenny 56
11 Lords of Nothing 61
12 Chi-West 67
13 Coward 74
14 Can't Be Normal Even If I Tried 79
15 First Kill 86
16 The Acceptable Difference 91
17 Officer Friendly 94
18 China 97
19 Back to the Hunting Grounds 101
20 Betrayed into a Coma 104
21 Madness 108
22 Rosie 116
23 Convenient Agreement 118
24 My Girl 123
25 Prove Myself Worthy 128
26 Rape 132
27 Crowned 137
28 Violence Rules 151
29 Madman 156
30 Losing Maplewood Park 161
31 My Rosie 167
32 Down Brother 175
33 Poor Rosie 186
34 Juni 189
35 Loca 195
36 Morena, R.I.P 199
37 NRA? Lucky's Death 206
38 Crazy Ways 209
39 Disciplined 214
40 No Lesson Learned 226
41 Spread the Violence 232
42 Enemies Near 237
43 Disowned 240
44 The Way It Is 244
45 Another Addiction 251
46 Close Call 262
47 The Law 265
48 Free? 274
49 Older Woman 278
50 Love Lost 285
51 Lesson Learned, Finally 292
52 Crownless 295
53 Tragedies Continue With or Without Me 298
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 174 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(138)

4 Star

(28)

3 Star

(6)

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(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 175 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 6, 2009

    Review of My Bloody Life

    My Bloody Life is the most intense and thrilling book I have ever read. Reymundo Sanchez wasted no time going into the hardships that he faced through out his life. He is a great author and describes his life with so much detail. It almost feels like you are his best friend living by his side day and night. When he describes some of the horrors of gang life I felt like I was experiencing them. It is a great book that describes his coming-of-age and his transition from little Reymundo into Lil Loco and then back into Reymundo. The intensity of some of the scenes he describes makes you jump into the air. He uses foreshadowing to always keep you guessing what is going to happen next. Some events that he has been through seem unbelievable. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to deal with being shot at every day. Always being afraid for your life and getting sucked into all different addictions. His words that he uses really speak to the heart. He may be a murderer and may have been heartless, but through the whole book you can't help but feel sorry for him. It must have been so hard to see death every day. I recommend this book to mostly young adults who are tired of boring mysteries or drama books. This book may have drama but it is all exciting and the pages jump out at you. You honestly can feel the cold winters he felt. You feel every punch or bullet he takes to the body. You feel like you are running with him when he runs for his life. The very first chapter is filled with excitement. Each paragraph explains more and more how deep he got into gang life. The neglect from his family leads him to the Latin Kings. The backstabbing that took place between the members drove him to reconsider what it really meant to be a King. His path toward being known as a wanted and respected gang member is just unbelievable. His constant battles with himself and who he has become just sinks into your gut. Makes you realize how hard it was for him to have to live under drugs so he could be who everyone else wanted him to be. This book is full of excitement that any young adult would love to read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2012

    Amazing

    I recently met some retired LKs and being a white girl from the suburbs i couldnt beleive the stories they told me. They sugessted i read this book and i was so into it i couldnt put the book down

    The way he writes makes you feel like you are lil locos best friend and there with him through everything
    I would recomend this book to anyone reguardless of their age

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2012

    I loved It (:

    The book is very intersating, and a book everyone should read ! If you like reading books gang related and gang-life this is the book for YOU.!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2011

    amazing like no other. in a way others may not understand a must read for city teens

    im growing up in the area where this book takes place the hang out corners,parks,and schools are still around even the gangs have been remade died out and back, but i can tell how its changed. i never planed on ever joining a gang and i still dont,. i told others about the book since they thought gangs were cool now they see how they are not. i thank the author of making this book. because its changed their minds. now i can hope that. my friends will be around longer and do the right thing,. people may think that we are young for this book, but iv been known to be more of an adult then most people my. age an this book has made me more of one. my bloody life is what alot of us around here need. (a book that i will never forget)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2010

    An eye opening inside look at Gang-life.

    "My Bloody Life", was a deep and eye opening inside look at Latin gang-life. From start to finish the book is gut wrenching, and tells the tale of a boy that has his childhood taken from him from a very young age. The book includes intimate details on the down spiral of a teenage boy entering gang life.

    It is a personal testimonial of when you have no love and attention at home, you look for it somewhere else. In "Lil Loco's" case he found it with The Latin Kings, or so he thought.

    I would recommend this book to anyone, but especially young men. Great book from start to finish. Did not disappoint at all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2010

    Truly Interesting Book

    You all need to read this book, My Bloody Life by Reymundo Sanchez. Anyone can enjoy this book. This book is full of suspense and has a brilliant plot. It has lots of things going on and is very easy to get caught in the story. One moment you will be reading the book and time will fly by! This book unwraps a story of a gang member who faces great difficulties with drugs,sex,violence, and death. Throughout the story he has to deal drugs, kill, and have a life as a party. The book is meant to help kids face the reality of being in a gang and to warn them to stay away. I think it's extremely well written for this purpose because it shows Lil Loco at the depth of almost dying but he has to stay in the gang because of fear. " Anything seemed better than what I feared my future would be like as a King." Before that he had been warned that if he didn't join they would have to jump him because he was claiming he was a King. Which he wasn't. In that instance LIL Loco feared for his life so he decided to join. This book demonstrates that gangs can be your friends and rapidly turn against you.
    I really liked this book because it was full of action and disaster yet it had such a dramatic ending, and I recommend it too all mature people. To read this book you have to be mature because you can fall into the main characters ideas which he's trying to make you avoid. This book is full of violence,drugs, and death. It was breath taking. Not only that but this book has a sequel named Once a King Always A King: The Unmaking of A Latin King by Reymundo Sanchez. This book is based on the same subject. With the first book in mind I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel. Order this book, go out and buy it. Do whatever you need to do because this book is great!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2010

    For young adults and PARENTS

    First off, I'm not a reader whatsoever and my mother purchased me this book for Christmas. One day, I started off reading it because I was bored at my workplace and that was it. The book's characters and story line is so easy to follow and deep you find yourself angry at your daily chores and job because it interferes with your reading. I finished this book in 5 days and was disappointed when it was over. This is a great book for 1) young adults to show them exactly what's in store for them and that street life is not all fun and games but a matter of life and death and 2) for parents to show what happens when you neglect your children and don't provide them with the attention necessary. Overall, 5 out of 5 and a must read. If not to better your life, it makes you aware of your surroundings and things to watch for. Hope this helped!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2008

    Dedicated Reader

    This book is one of the best ive read. Its real life. I read this book back when i was 15 and I was about to join The Latin Kings, it opened my eyes to what i was about to get myself into and I was able to pull back. This is as raw as it's going to get. I've read the book twice together with its sequel Once a King, Always a King: The unmaking of a Latin King. I would re-read this book with no problems. I think every time you read it you find something new or something else catches your attention that didn't before!! A MUST READ!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2008

    Excellent!!

    This book was absolutely superb. I finished reading the entire book in 2 days I could not put it down. I recommend this book to anyone. The author really made me feel for him through all of the explicit details and finely detailed characteristics of places, people and events.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book is amazing. To me I cherish this book so much and I love it. It's inspired me to do better and achieve more in life. I'm not really much of a reader and i needed a book to do a report on n jst saw this on the shelf. Once i started reading it i couldn't put it down, and finished it in 3 days.(i know how crazy) It has everything a teenager wants to read about (at least where im from). Drugs, Sex, Violence and Just the thoughts that we can relate to. I've let 4 people borrowed this book and they loved it. and 3 other people are waiting in line to borrow. It feels good know that I can get someone to pick up a book that would never even think about reading. Reymundo you are amazing. this is my favorite book ever!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2007

    Interesting Read

    Though My Bloody Life is an interesting book to read, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning about gang life. I had a few doubts about the entire truth of this book. Mr. Sanchez states that during the period in his life when he was a Latin King in Chicago, Puerto Ricans were being deported back to the island. Well, a true Puerto Rican would doubt this seriously! ALL Puerto Ricans are born American citizens because Puerto Rico is not a foreign country, but rather a common wealth of the USA, we are part of the USofA! Thus making us citizens of the United States by birth right! Also, the Spanish language used in this book was grammatically incorrect. Be proud of your ethnicity and make sure you properly spell in Spanish, please! My Bloody Life, like I stated before, makes for an interesting read. But certain parts of this book seem to be bigger than life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2007

    Good Read

    This book is written not to glorify gang life but to show people the horrors of it and the reasons why kids join gangs. these are the reasons I liked it so much. As somewhat of a gang researcher and enthusiast, I read this book with much skepticism thinking it would be another memoir seeking sympathy from the reader. Mr. Sanchez does a good job of explaining what he went through without playing on the reader's heart strings. I recommend this book to anyone interested in seeing what the gang culture is all about and see what goes on in the life of a gang member.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2006

    * I LOVE DIZ BOOK *

    * YUP, YUP DIZ THE BEST BOOK I EVER READ IT IS SOOOO INTERESTING... I COULDNT STOP READING IT...MA SISTER TOLD ME ABOUT IT SHE TOOK TWO DAYS TO READ IT...I FEEL BAD FOR DA GUY IN ALL HE BEEN THROUGH... *

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2006

    Loved this book

    I could not put this book down it just drew into his world and made me sad to think that someone could abandon their child. I really recommend this book to anyone because even my brother who hardly ever reads picked this book up and started reading it as well.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2006

    REVIEW

    This book was interesting.. my friend who is now in a gang told me to read it so I'd understand his lifestyle. I unserstand a lot more about gnags and other things like that after reading this book.. I think it was worth buying. I like how the author didn't use too big of words.. it made it seem for understandable & a lot more interesting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2006

    A Must Read

    I really enjoyed reading My Bloody Life. This book is a definite page turner, I couldn't put it down. Sanchez does a good job of taking you straight into the 'hood and putting the drama right in your face. He tells a story of how hard it is to be a young boy and wanting to fit in. If you enjoy reading about real people and experiencing gang life first hand, then this is a great book and I would strongly recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2006

    BeSt BoOk EvEr

    i loved this book so much i couldnt put it down after the first chapter it had me hooked all though i havent read the second one but i plan to i also live in chicago and i know many of the 'Latin Kings' and they all seem to like what they are doing and i dont disagree with them but i know secretly that gangbangers wonder what there life would be without gangs....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2006

    A BEAUTIFUL AND HREATBREAKING STORY

    WHAT AN AMAZING BOOK. AS SOON I OPENED THE BOOK TO READ I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN. EVEN THOUGH SOME OF THE THINGS THAT RAY DID WERE HARD TO READ BECAUSE OF HOW RAW AND SICK IT WAS. IT SAD TO SEE WHAT HAPPENES TO A HUMAN BEING WHEN THEY GROW UP IN A LOVELESS HOME AND IS GIVEN THE WORNG IDEA OF WHAT FRIENDS REALLY ARE. ANYONE WHO LOVES TO READ ABOUT THE RAW TRUTH OF THE WORLD IS GOING TO LOVE THIS BOOK. ITS AMAZING!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2006

    INNOCENCE CORRUPTED WITH VIOLENCE

    This was an eye opening book for many Puerto Rican Chicagoans as myself. It explains the indirects and the prejudism from non Puerto Ricans and the over protective parents while I was a child. I agree with Jesse White.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2006

    girl from the northwest burb of chicago

    I'm a 21 year old girl who read this book while being pregnant with my now 2 year old son. Its a great book to read to encourage others to read it too. I was never involved in the street life but knew of alot of people involved in them. They always seemed so tough so confident in what they were doing in their life but u know they always had another side to them that they were ashmed to show. I would recommed this book to all kids out ther who are a lonely and they think they only way to have somebody whos going to love them is to be in a gang to read this book. It would really open their eyes.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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