Bones Worth Breaking: A Memoir (Paperback)

Bones Worth Breaking: A Memoir By David Martinez Cover Image
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Bones Worth Breaking is a portrait of the unbreakable bond between brothers and a reckoning with the global forces that shaped them.

Nobody around David Martinez saw how quickly he was breaking apart except for his younger brother, Mike. They stood out in Idaho: mixed-race in a Mormon community that, in the years before David’s birth, considered Black people ineligible for salvation. The Martinez brothers were raised to be “good boys,” definitely not to get high, skateboard all night, or get arrested, all of which they did with zeal. Then their paths diverged. David went on a two-year mission trip to Brazil like his father before him, and Mike stayed in the States, finding himself in and out of prison. When David returned, in the middle of the still-unnamed opioid epidemic, things had irrevocably changed, and in 2021, Mike unexpectedly died in prison.

Martinez writes with a serrated edge, as viscerally felt as an exposed nerve, and transforms from a stoic boy constantly seeking escape to a vulnerable man eager to contextualize the legacies and losses that have shaped his life. With a wild, ragged velocity—flipping and soaring like a pro skater—Martinez defies a linear telling of his life and tackles topics from abuse and racism to writing and capturing the meaning of the specific nostalgia of saudade.

Bones Worth Breaking
is a portrait of the unbreakable bond between brothers who were robbed of the chance to grow old together, and a reckoning with the brutal global forces that let so many poor young men of color fall perilously through the cracks.

About the Author

David Martinez earned his MFA from University of California, Riverside, Palm Desert, and previously taught English and creative writing at Glendale Community College in Arizona. He is a dual citizen of the United States and Brazil and has lived in both countries as well as in Puerto Rico. His work has appeared in The Coachella Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Broken Pencil, and Automata Review. He lives in Glendale, Arizona.

Praise For…

“Immersive . . . [Martinez’s debut] revitalizes well-worn themes of racism, addiction, and religious trauma with his sense of urgency and vivid language. This marks [him as] a writer to watch.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Arresting . . . Martinez holds nothing back when writing about his upbringing as a multiracial Mormon in Idaho, family dysfunction, living with addiction, and surviving complicated losses—but the heart of this book is found in his defining relationship with his brother, and what it means to share your life and your wounds with someone you ultimately cannot save.”
―Nicole Chung, Esquire

“Searing . . . a story that needs to be shared.”
―Adam Vitcavage, Debutiful

"Martinez’s love for [his brother] is woven throughout this book, as he writes evocatively about the joys and pains of their shared lives and divergent paths as adults. Readers will connect with Martinez’s honest and revelatory writing.”
―Laura Chanoux, Booklist

"Bones Worth Breaking is a wise, vulnerable and moving elegy for a best friend and soulmate who just happens to be family. It is also a kaleidoscopic coming-of-age memoir whose power lies in its gentle refusal of identity essentialism and narrative authority, operating instead through attitudes of hesitance, searching, restlessness, and deep compassion. This is an unforgettable story."
—Chantal V. Johnson, author of Post-Traumatic

"A deeply moving and courageous story of brotherly love. In this most intimate and soul-baring of memoirs, David Martinez describes not one, but many unforgettable odysseys through addiction and migration, identity and faith."
—Héctor Tobar, author of Our Migrant Souls

"In this heart-felt depiction of the lives of two brothers who end up taking different life paths—one that leads to redemption and the other to a tragic end—David Martinez reminds us of the danger that comes
with hiding our wounds. Beautiful and deeply moving, Bones Worth Breaking is a book worth reading."
—Obed Silva, author of The Death of My Father the Pope

"Written with uncanny grit and beauty, Bones Worth Breaking is as much a personal revelation as it is an American reckoning. Martinez's prose at times left me breathless."
—Liska Jacobs, author of The Pink Hotel

Product Details
ISBN: 9780374610951
ISBN-10: 0374610959
Publisher: MCD
Publication Date: April 9th, 2024
Pages: 400
Language: English