Once a King Always a King: The Unmaking of a Latin King-Reymundo Sanchez
Reymundo Sanchez, the author who brought us his incredible life story in ‘ My Bloody Life: The Making of a Latin King’ returns with this follow-up book about his final defection from the Latin Kings and the phase in his life that begins. At the beginning of the book, he is still entrenched in the gang life but desperately trying to find a way out. That way out would come in the form of arrest and subsequent incarceration. The time he spends in prison opens his eyes and minds to the harsh realities of the gang life and the preciousness of freedom. The dysfunction and hopelessness he witnesses inside the walls of a prison serve as the catalyst for his final defection from gang life and onto the path of redemption. The events that follow and his response and adaptation to them, form the nucleus of this incredible story. His perseverance and success in confronting his past demons are some of the best parts of this fascinating story.
In the first book, we witnessed the dysfunctional childhood endured by the young Sanchez, complete with a neglectful mother, abusive stepfather, sexual predators, violence, money, drugs and tragedy. Some of the same characters make an appearance in the second part of his story but the nature of the relationships are much changed from what they once were. However, they all play in part in the events that happen and the changes he makes in his quest for a new life. The new aspect of his life on display here for the first time, is love. In this part of his life story, we are witnesses to the first real relationship he has with a member of the opposite sex not based on drugs, money or just sex in general. And as the author points out, this relationship is what finally allowed him to face the demons that haunted him for so many years. Those same demons however, would not go away quietly and rear their ugly heads at more than one point during the book as the author struggles to keep his composure as he tries to break old habits that insist on dying hard.
Some moments in the book are a tough read but necessary to understand the dramatic transformation that the author goes through. Perhaps the most tragic part of the book aside from family relationships and intimate relationships with women, is that even though you leave a gang, sometimes that life never fully leaves you. And he realizes that once a king, always a king, even if unwillingly. And it this message that is conveyed in this eye-opening personal account. Today, Sanchez is no longer a Latin King, but he continues to carry the many scars from his early life, some of which will never fully heal. He freely admits that he does the best he can but at times, it is far from easy. His story and message should be read and heard by all young women and men interested in the gang culture and a life of crime and parents wishing for their children to have as normal of a life as possible. Sanchez’s story is tragic, violent and at times tough to read, but his life and transformation is rare among many of his peers. It took enormous courage for the author to write these two books, but his story has become a personal favorite of mine and I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in the Latin Kings and the brutal life that exist within a gang. And in addition to his own story, he also wrote the story of a female gang member, the incredible book ‘Lady Q: The Rise and Fall of a Latin Queen ‘, with former gang member Sonia “Lady Q” Rodriguez.