Once a King, Always a King: The Unmaking of a Latin King

( 55 )

Overview


This riveting sequel to My Bloody Life traces Reymundo Sanchez’s struggle to create a “normal” life outside the Latin Kings, one of the nation's most notorious street gangs, and to move beyond his past. Sanchez illustrates how the Latin King motto “once a king, always a king” rings true and details the difficulty and danger of leaving that life behind. Filled with heartpounding scenes of his backslide into drugs, sex, and violence, Once a King, Always a King recounts how Sanchez wound up in prison and provides ...
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Overview


This riveting sequel to My Bloody Life traces Reymundo Sanchez’s struggle to create a “normal” life outside the Latin Kings, one of the nation's most notorious street gangs, and to move beyond his past. Sanchez illustrates how the Latin King motto “once a king, always a king” rings true and details the difficulty and danger of leaving that life behind. Filled with heartpounding scenes of his backslide into drugs, sex, and violence, Once a King, Always a King recounts how Sanchez wound up in prison and provides an engrossing firsthand account of how the Latin Kings are run from inside the prison system. Harrowing testaments to Sanchez’s determination to rebuild his life include his efforts to separate his family from gang life and his struggle to adapt to marriage and the corporate world. Despite temptations, nightmares, regressions into violence, and his own internal demons, Sanchez makes an uneasy peace with his new life. This raw, powerful, and brutally honest memoir traces the transformation of an accomplished gangbanger into a responsible citizen.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The pseudonymous author must be enthusiastically applauded for his struggle to extract himself from the jaws of the monster.”  —KirkusReviews

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

“A survivor who turned his life around, Sanchez writes plainly and powerfully, and what is shocking about his tragic tale is not the barbaric actions of young gangbangers but the appalling collusion of adults, from criminally abusive parents to mercenary gun dealers and immoral cops.”  —Booklist on My Bloody Life

“Sanchez carefully traces his own transformation from an inner-city Puerto Rican boy who likes to play baseball into an accomplished gangbanger in Chicago's notorious Latin Kings—someone for whom pulling the trigger was becoming second nature.”  —The Washington Post on My Bloody Life

The Washington Post Book World
Courageously honest.
Book News
Describes how hard it is to escape gang life; and the lasting damage of physical, mental, and sexual abuse.
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 cliched: "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. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Plodding, predictable sequel to former gangbanger Sanchez’s earlier memoir, My Bloody Life (2000). The pseudonymous author must be enthusiastically applauded for his struggle to extract himself from the jaws of the monster. What cannot be applauded is his prose, which never ventures beyond mediocre. Once again, the author declares he is writing his story as a cautionary tale; once again, he says he has changed his name and other details to protect his family. Once again, his claim is disingenuous: he confessed to murders in the first volume, and the Chicago police presumably would like to know who and where he is. Sanchez begins with his official excommunication from the Kings (they beat him for three minutes) and chronicles subsequent attempts to make it on his own. He fails and is soon trying to live on his rep as an ex-King. Early on, he claims to be taking classes and working as a data-entry clerk at the University of Chicago, but a hundred pages later he applies for the job we thought he already had. We hear about his gradual return to doing and dealing drugs, his serial sexual exploits (some conveyed in enough detail to make Larry Flynt flinch), his deceptions and darknesses. (At least he doesn’t kill anyone this time.) Most attractive women desire him, and he eagerly accommodates them. Lilly waits for him while he’s serving time, but after his release, he trades her in on fellow writing student Michele. After he scares off Michele, next is Marilyn—the love of his life, he claims, though soon enough he’s calling her vile names, hitting her, and threatening to slash her to death. She dumps him after they move to Dallas. He goes to Miami, marries, fathers children, enterstherapy. Hardly a sentence goes by without a cliché or a common trinket offered as a crown jewel. Criminal. Agent: Jane Dystel
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556525056
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/28/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 958,697
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet 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.
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Table of Contents

Introduction xi
1 Once a King, Always a King 1
2 Career Change 9
3 Josie's Way 15
4 Fear 27
5 Cocaine Again 37
6 The First Blessing 53
7 Doing Time 75
8 Almost Free 93
9 Work Release 103
10 New Beginning 117
11 A Different Kind of Girl 137
12 There Is Such a Thing as Friendship 155
13 Lovers 177
14 A New Plan 187
15 Welcome to Dallas 203
16 Is This Love? 215
17 Maybe We Can Try Again 229
18 Release of Pain 243
19 Changes 265
20 Here and Now 273
For Those at Risk 285
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 55 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(44)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2004

    The Best

    I love this book it hit a spot it brought back memories i tried to forget..i think my past helped me with my life today..i actually had a friend that told me to change my life so i did..his words changed my life but when i read this book..i had guilt for what i did..all the secrets..but i can do anything with my past.. now i am trying to make a successful life for my hijo.. that is all that is on my mind.. but i will always remember the pain from the past..this book i believe will change people lives.. i wish the best for Reymundo Sanchez.. god bless u

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2004

    WOW

    I LOVED THIS BOOK!! IT HLPED ME HEAL WHAT I WENT THROUGH WITH MY EX BOYFRIEND OF 5 YEARS, ALMOST MARRIED HIM. LIKE MARILYN I AM EDUCATED. I NEVER LOOKED DOWN ON HIM BECAUSE HE WAS A MEMBER OF A GANG MOST OF HIS LIFE. HE HAD A TRAMATIC CHILDHOOD JUST LIKE LIL LOCO, I CAN ONLY HOPE THAT HE WILL READ THIS BOOK AND USE REYMENDO SANCHEZ AS A ROLE MODEL. I BELIEVE WHAT SANCHEZ STATES IN HIS FORWARD THAT PEOPLE WITH ' ISSUES' IN THIS CASE CHILDHOOD ONES SHOULD SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP OR EVEN WRITE YOUR FEELINGS DOWN. We all have memories that we want to forget I hope this book can help another like it did for me.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2004

    flashbacks

    reading this book brought back major memories i had long forgotten.being an ex lady gangbanger from the near west side reading this book reminded me of the horrors i went through much like lil loco.but you can escape I DID!!! and i broke the chain of violence my children are my life i would die for them AND ONLY THEM they are my familia.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2013

    Once a king always a king

    A slow motion picture of sex drugs and violence

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2013

    This book is awsome

    Heck yeah go Reymundo;)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2012

    Thought provoking

    Gangland and true stories are my favorite genres.
    This book covers both with a very real and helpful insight into the journey of a bad guy becoming good.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 27, 2011

    A simple insight into a complex world

    I had no idea.

    Reymundo Sanchez¿s sequel is probably the most inspiring and personal book I have ever picked up. At first I thought it was going to be a mediocre book because his syntax was poor and I didn¿t see his personality right away. As Sanchez started to reveal himself, his past woes and hardships, the syntax didn't matter anymore. The book transformed itself from an interesting, casual read into an insightful outlook on the world; the story of a life. I went through his emotions at the same time he was describing his thoughts. His syntax, then, allowed him to easily transpose his thoughts onto the paper and made it clear for every reader to be able to understand.

    It also led me into a different part of Chicago that I don¿t really think about. To someone who has never experienced any of his problems, Once a King, Always a King is a real eye-opener; Sanchez describes the unaccented parts of gang life with perfect amounts of detail. I enjoyed his conclusions about education, the realizations of gang life and how to seek help, society, and the aggressive, boastful thought processes that turn someone into a thug. His morals made me realize how opportunistic life can really be.

    However, I would not recommend the book, however enlightening, to children under fifteen years old due to the excessive use of swear words, detailing of sexual encounters, and heavy drug usage as well as the violence Sanchez endures.

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  • Posted June 8, 2011

    Test

    Test

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2011

    read this booookkk!!!!

    I loved this book!!! it was very very goood an insiprational.Reymunodo does a very good job on telling his story. he basically tells his story about his life and how hard it was struggling to despretly get out a gang and all the abuse he went through sexaully, mentally,and emotionally. this book shows you that it is possible to get out of that lifestyle and change your whole life completey. Anyone that reads this will feel like he is th one in REymundos life thats exactly how i felt when i was reading this book. he was very detailed and explained everything very very well. the most realistic thing about this book is that reyumndo is a fromer gang member and he is the one that wrote this whole book. i reccomend this book to anyone that just wants to read it to understand the struggles of being a gang member to someone acataully in a gang that needs some inspiration to change there life around. this book really shows how anything can happen and its really all on you if you want to change your life around for the better. everyone has really hard times in there life and this book really will help you get through some of this issues you have a lot of the things Reymundo does really all goes back to his childhood. wich really effected him in everyway you can imagine. he shows how he gets through those times and what he does to get through them and how. it wasnt easy for him but he managed to fight it and fight all the temptations. its a really deep book and had a whole another level of understanding. this book is a very very good book and i reccomend it to anyone make sure you read the first book to get a better understanding i twill keep you reading and you will get hooked. i didnt want to put this book down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2010

    Highly Recommend!!!

    This Book was very good...When i read it, it felt like if i was the one living this guy's story..

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2010

    Great Part 2 to The Making of a Latin King

    Loved it as much as the first book. If you read the first, you must read the second to see how Reymundo life turns out.

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  • Posted December 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    True Inspiration

    Once a king, always a king" gives the reader a good idea of what it would be like to be in a gang and how hard it is to get out. The fact that the book was written by an acutal former gang member makes the book very real. Reymundo Sanchez's words offer hope to those stuggling to build a new life for themselves and for those thriving to become a better person. His true story proves that it is possible to make something of yourself no matter where you come from or what you've been through.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Gangs Fighting For Pride

    When Reyumudo Sanchez goes back to his hometown his past repeats itself. After Rey's lover Loca broke up with him he gets involved with rival gangs and he has sex with each girl he meets. Rey faces tough challenges ahead of him and each challenge gets harder. I like the way the author wrote this book because it talks about Rey who went through anger, sadness, and pain. It also shows that each decision you make it reflects your life. I suggest you read this because once you get into it you don't want to stop.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2008

    THE BEST BOK EVER

    Once A King Always a King by Reymundo Sanchez had me on my feet and the edge of my bed. Because this book made me seem as if I was there as everything took place and as Reymundo was explain things it was so perfect because the he describe the setting I swear I thought was there, and that part of the reason why I couldn¿t put my book down at night and when I tried to put it down I couldn¿t because it kept getting better and better, and another reason why I couldn¿t put my book down is because every time I wanted to put the book down cause I wanted to know what Reymundo was going to do. Its crazy what you have to do when you join a gang and when you trying to gain respect from member of your gang and this book tells you what some people got to go through when they join a gang, this book also teaches you a lot such as not to trust everybody cause some people are going to try to your place. And some of the people In your own gang that you think might be your family just want to see you hit the bottom and don¿t want to see you make nothing positive of yourself. In this book I like the fact that Reymundo turn his bad situation into a something positive and I feel that¿s what man should do when he want to get his life together and I feel that many students who feel that gangbanging is something to were u can get respect on the streets no that¿s nowhere near how you get respect because this book let you that the streets isn¿t no game so that another reason why this book is one of my favorite books. I felt that this was a positive book and it made me as a high school student not want to join a gang cause of all the things you have to do for this hood your suppose be from and put your life on the line for cause these people are suppose to be your family but they will turn there backs on u in a quick minute and your left all by yourself cause you didn¿t do something that they wanted to and I feel your putting yourself through more danger than you need to be in I learned I¿d rather do something positive with myself instead of wasting my time and life being stuck in some gang. ¿In these you can¿t trust nobody but yourself ¿ but I proud of reymundo because he stood up for his self and basically figured he¿ll do what he got to do to make it in these street he did what he had to do in a positive way and I¿m so proud of what he did at the end of the book and he didn¿t let any one hold him back and that¿s what made me happy he accomplished his goals.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2007

    ballin

    loved the book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2007

    bumpin'!!!!

    This book was the best!!! i loved every moment of it!! this is a book you can never put down once you start reading it!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2007

    DRAMATIC!!!

    Just when it seems rey will never amount to much he comes out on top!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2007

    A True Hero

    As a latin female who grew up in the streets of NY i knw wat it is to see gangs and the damage they cause this book shw's the true nature of gangs and that it's not all about drugs and partying. Its real, dark, and encougring. It also shw's that if u believe in yourself that you can change your life for the better.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2006

    Once a king always aking

    I think that this book is real good and it is real interseting. It has a lot of info for us young high school students and many other people. It realy helped me to realys what could happen to me if i ever goind a gang or be wanna be.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2006

    cool and good book

    this is the goodest book ive ever read its like the guy is the book telling his life verrrry good book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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