Rough Trade
Another Word for Love

Bones Worth Breaking

9780374610951 fc %281%29
Paperback, MCD × FSG, 2024
Mcd placeholder

David Martinez

more about author

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: Black and Brazilian American 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.

Read More + Read Less -
9780374610951 fc %282%29

Bones Worth Breaking: An Annotated Playlist

  • "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

  • "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

  • "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