Sunday, December 23, 2012

Domingo Martinez: The Boy Kings of Texas

I'm about halfway through The Boy Kings of Texas: A Memoir by Domingo Martinez (Lyons Press, 2012). So far, it covers the author's family milieu near Brownsville, Texas, through his own teen years. There's a lot to take in.

With this kind of memoir, the reader (this reader, specifically) bounces off the narrator's stories and observations with memories from personal experience, family experiences, upbringing, geography and culture. What is not at first recognizable becomes a learning experience, paralleling the arc of the narrator as his own conciousness expands, as he comes to know more about the wider world.

There are plenty of vibrant (and sometimes grotesque) real-life characters in The Boy Kings of Texas. The grandmother is a real pisser, tough as nails, in some ways a connection to the rural past, in others, going with the flow of new ways and means of living. For the narrator and his siblings, there's a lot about identity -- American? Mexican American? Part of a group, individual agent, or how much partly both? Stay or go far away? Deal with various family crises or flee out of self-preservation?

To some extent, I'm reminded of several of Luis Buñuel's Mexican films of the late 1940s through early 1960s. Like Buñuel's work and no matter how else you cut it, The Boy Kings of Texas is interesting, and revealing. I'm digging it.

Today's Rune: Journey.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

Don't know much about Martinez.