Cover image for Once a king, always a king : the unmaking of a Latin king
Once a king, always a king : the unmaking of a Latin king
Sanchez, Reymundo, 1963-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Chicago, Ill. : Chicago Review Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiv, 286 pages ; 24 cm
Having written about the street gang lifestyle in "My Bloody Life, " the author describes how hard it is to escape gang life and the lasting damage of physical, mental, and sexual abuse.
General Note:
Sequel to: My bloody life.
Once a King, Always a King Career Change Josie's Way Fear Cocaine Again First Blessing Doing Time Almost Free Work Release New Beginning A Different Kind of Girl There Is Such a Thing as Friendship Lovers A New Plan Welcome to Dallas Is This Love? Maybe We Can Try Again Release of Pain Changes Here and Now For Those at Risk

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F548.9.P85 O53 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



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.

Author Notes

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

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
1 Once a King, Always a Kingp. 1
2 Career Changep. 9
3 Josie's Wayp. 15
4 Fearp. 27
5 Cocaine Againp. 37
6 The First Blessingp. 53
7 Doing Timep. 75
8 Almost Freep. 93
9 Work Releasep. 103
10 New Beginningp. 117
11 A Different Kind of Girlp. 137
12 There Is Such a Thing as Friendshipp. 155
13 Loversp. 177
14 A New Planp. 187
15 Welcome to Dallasp. 203
16 Is This Love?p. 215
17 Maybe We Can Try Againp. 229
18 Release of Painp. 243
19 Changesp. 265
20 Here and Nowp. 273
For Those at Riskp. 285