Author to read from book optioned for HBO series

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

April 21, 2014 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated April 21, 2014 at 11:22 p.m.

When Domingo Martinez's father told him the family dog had been ripped to shreds by a pack of wild dogs, one word stuck with him - "reventaron," Spanish for breaking through or breaking open.

"The actual dictionary definition was nowhere near as powerful as I had felt it to be when I was a kid," Martinez, 42, said. "It was like a psychic wound for the rest of my life."

Martinez, the author of "The Boy Kings of Texas: A Memoir," will give a reading at the University of Houston-Victoria's Alcorn Auditorium at noon Thursday.

The memoir is composed of snapshots from different parts of Martinez's Mexican-American childhood in South Texas.

His memoir was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2012.

The book has recently been optioned by HBO and piqued the interest of Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek, Martinez said.

The HBO project all began after Martinez had written a letter to Hayek suggesting she read the memoir.

At the time, Martinez said he was so broke he had to wait two weeks to get paid to afford the stationery to send the letter to Hayek, who was in Paris at the time.

After the letter was sent and got lost in Los Angeles, Martinez said the note eventually reached Hayek.

"The genesis of the whole HBO thing was that little bit of ambition I had late at night while feeling mopey," Martinez said. "That's what brought the book to her attention."

Hayek has hinted at wanting to play his younger grandmother, Martinez said.

In one chapter, Martinez recounts his sisters reinventing themselves as white-washed caricatures of the women they longed to be.

In another chapter, his Uncle Richard beats the author to a pulp after accusing his family of being "too white."

The theme of assimilation is heavy throughout Martinez's book.

The author moved to Seattle in his 20s, searching for his own identity and has lived there since.

When asked if he felt he had become a fully-assimilated adult and if he was satisfied with that transformation, he responded, "Am I satisfied with it? What I've done is become the best version of myself that I wanted to be, and I don't attach race or culture to it. I basically just followed my impulses and desires to become the person that I am."

Martinez will also read from his second book, "My Heart Is A Drunken Compass: A Memoir," scheduled for release in early November.



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