Books & Review | Cole Garner Hill
Updated: Nov 28, 2012 02:24 PM EST

boy kings of texas

Martinez’s first book, “The Boy Kings of Texas” has received largely positive reviews with a current score of 4.3/5 on Amazon. (Photo : Good Reads)

Sometimes losing is even better than winning. After his story "The Boy Kings of Texas" was nominated for the National Book Award for nonfiction, eventually losing, Salma Hayek has optioned author Domingo Martinez's memoir for a film.

According to GalleyCat, Hayek acquired the rights for her production company, Ventanarosa, with Bruce Vinokur of CAA and Alice Martell of The Martell Agency negotiating the deal.

"Plucked from obscurity from a pile of unsolicited manuscripts, THE BOY KINGS OF TEXAS [is] first-time author Martinez's coming-of-age story about the traumas and pleasures of growing up in Brownsville, Texas, in the 1980s ... In telling his story, Martinez provides a real glimpse into a society where children are traded like commerce, physical altercations routinely solve problems, drugs are rampant, sex is often crude, and people depend on the family witch doctor for advice," says a press release from Ventanarosa.

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Martinez's first book, "The Boy Kings of Texas" has received largely positive reviews with a current score of 4.3/5 on Amazon.

"With 'The Boy Kings of Texas,' a new and important truth about those Rio Grande Valley border towns like Brownsville and McAllen has finally emerged, one that takes into account the brainy boys of the barrio who read Cyrano de Bergerac between waiting tables at the Olive Garden, and play hooky at the Holiday Inn in order to discuss foreign films," said the Dallas Morning News in its review.

The newspaper continued, "Sure, there have always been stories about smart kids who want to leave town or risk going nowhere in life. In the Valley, where there is also a high chance of succumbing to border violence, Martinez unveils the lives of smart kids who feel they need to leave town or else simply die of boredom."

Martinez has worked as a journalist and designer in Texas and at virtually every periodical in Seattle, including The Stranger, Seattle Weekly, the Seattle Times, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. His work has appeared in Epiphany, and he read an adaptation of "The Mimis" on NPR's "This American Life" in October 2012.

This won't be Hayek's first attempt at adapting a book into a film. Hayek has been running her Ventanarosa production company since she founded it around 2000. The first feature she produced, 1999's "El Coronel No Tiene Quien Le Escriba," was Mexico's official selection for submission for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars.

Hayek was an executive producer of the TV show "Ugly Betty." Hayek adapted the series for American television with Ben Silverman, who acquired the rights and scripts from the Colombian telenovela "Yo Soy Betty La Fea" in 2001. Hayek also co-produced "Frida" in 2002, which earned the actress an Academy Award nomination for best actress.

Following along below for an excerpt from "The Boy Kings of Texas"

Before they started junior high, my sisters Mare and Margie had preemptively developed the fantasy of "the Mimis" between themselves as a means to cope with any feelings of inferiority they might have otherwise experienced by moving into the sinister world of teenage fashionistas, which, in Brownsville, was always tinged with border-town racism.

First, they dyed their brown-black hair blonde until it turned the color and brittleness of hay, then they began dressing in Sergio Valente and Gloria Vanderbilt fashions, and then finally, in further escalation, decided to call each other, simply, Mimi. They had secretly reinvented themselves for the adolescent phase of their lives, and then decided to let the rest of us in on the secret on an "as-needed" basis.

At the time, the rest of the family had not consciously realized that our job, as new Americans-and worse yet, as Texans-was to be as white as possible, and we honestly didn't see their delusion as anything other than another bewildering strata to our sisters' quest for a higher level of superior fashion, as teenage girls do.

A typical conversation between them went like this:

"Mimi, do you like my new Jordache jeans?"

"Yes, Mimi, I do. Do I look rich in my new Nikes, Mimi?"

"Mimi, you look like a tennis player, Mimi."

"I know, Mimi. Maybe I should make Mom buy me a racquet."

To help reinforce this pathological delusion, Marge had enlisted the help of Rex, a small gray terrier she had found rummaging in an overturned garbage can on a street near the Matamoros Bridge. She cornered the poor beast in an alley and caught it, lifting the matted, dreadlocked mutt by the armpits and deciding, right there, that the dog was a poodle and that it needed saving, naming it Rex. No one disagreed, or questioned why.

Rex was introduced to our family as the Mimis' fugue was buzzing at its fever pitch, intoxicating everyone who came near and caught a whiff of the Mimis' Anais Anais perfume. (We had all seen the commercials on network television while watching Dallas or Knots Landing, and it was a forbidden fragrance for rain-depressed English women with secret muscular boyfriends who drove Jaguars dangerously through one-lane unpaved Scottish roads, so the Mimis had to have it, and so they found it at the local JC Penney, and had Mom pay for it.) Dan and Syl and me, we just kind of stank from the heat and dealt with it.

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