Saturday, August 31, 2013

Good reads at Waco libraries: September 2013

By Barbara Frank
The Prince of South Waco: American Dreams and Great Expectations
By Tony Castro
Journalist Tony Castro is a native Wacoan who attended Baylor University and wrote for the Waco Tribune-Herald. Author of “Mickey Mantle: America’s Prodigal Son,” Castro narrates his sensitive rite-of-passage memoir of growing up Latino in Waco. It was an age when being different in America often brought the cruel, hard reality of the time, along with heartbreak and despair. He recounts how, as a child in an era before bilingual education, he overcame speech and learning disabilities and an inability to speak English. He became an honor student with a penchant for literature, the classics and writing. Castro will be in Waco for a book signing at the Central Library at 7 p.m. on Sept. 26.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Friday, July 5, 2013

More Comments From Facebook

  • Johnny Bob Beaird Book came and I cant put it down. We knew so many of the same people. I went to Sanger Ave elem. aka the silk sock sissies. And was totally oblivious to your world. Makes me sad. And I have questions. Like. What do you know about the builders of the Oneal house. I had ancestors out that way in the 1800's. also have you figured out Sironia Tx. Im trying to read it.
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  • Sharon Lewis Mayhugh I read my copy in two days. What a fascinating story. it is really true that living near and attending those "north Waco schools" maybe twenty minutes from South Waco placed us in a world so different than the world where you grew up Tony. Our paths cr...See More
  • Tony Castro Thank you, Johnny Bob.... My first real exposure outside Gurley Elementary and to kids from North Waco was the cotillion that my dad's boss' daughter operated. She had several kids there from Sanger. When you meet someone in that kind of environment, you don't judge on the same basis as if you were meeting them in most places where kids hang out. So I didn't see myself differently from the way I saw myself with kids at Gurley. That was never really the problem. The problem, as it were, was when you brought adults into the equation, as I point out in the book... Re the O'Neal house. I'll go back through my notes. Patricia gave me what she knew about the house a couple of years ago, and I don't immediately remember if that included the builders...
  • Tony Castro Re Sironia, Tx. I read it in junior high. One of my teachers at South Junior, Harold Purvis, loaned me his two volume set and later gave them to me. It was a fascinating read, a bit long and possibly self indulgent (but that's all of us!), and it made you wake up about your hometown. Mr. Purvis had a chart of which fictional family or character was which in real life. They didn't mean anything to me then. I've been rereading it, though, for background on a book set in Waco in the Roaring 20s.
  • Tony Castro Thank you for your kind thoughts, Sharon. In junior high I actually became acquainted with a number of kids from North Waco and the LaVega schools through the Baylor Children's Theater, youth baseball, TABBY bowling at the Westview Lanes, and interscholastic league comps -- debate, speech, number sense (talk about a dated talent!). I would also meet quite a few at the public library, where I spent a lot of time...
  • Tony Castro Johnny Bob, I'm curious about your thoughts on the Madison Cooper novel as well. Post them here, and think about posting a review on Amazon.

Friday, June 28, 2013

More Comments from Facebook

Just finished Tony Castro,s book yesterday. Loved it. Could hardly put it down. It is amazing how you can think you are friends with people and never really know the trials they are facing. Finished the day with a Travelers baseball game. How appropriate!

Chuck Hughes I read his book twice in one week. The first time I read it for the story and the second time I read it to see if I missed anything. I really enjoyed the book. It brought back a lot of memories of my life in Waco.

The Prince of South Waco took me back to another day and time...heartfelt, funny, sad, and the openness that you used to describe your life during those tender years touched my heart. It was a great read from cover to cover. Congratulations, you hit it out of the park, Tony!!!!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Prince of South Waco Praise From Facebook

Preston Kirk ALL -- Here are a few more of my observations, having read the book in galley proofs a month or so ago. “We all make mistakes…and we all pay a price,” Castro admits in this deeply introspective biography. He recounts his unrequited love for a white princess and the resulting rebelliousness in a racist Central Texas 50 years ago and his roller coast ride through early journalistic success. That price? Heartbreak. 

This is an introspective look at a precocious, driven, intellectual young Hispanic, who throughout his childhood and remarkable journalistic journey through life would find himself ““too Mexican for some and not Mexican enough for others.” Castro’s incisive analysis of his own early life is accomplished with wisdom and hindsight. Few flaws are left unexposed – much to the enlightenment of readers and probably a few long-lingering enemies. “… Prince… ” is not an apologist’s treatise on growing up and excelling Chicano in a racist Central Texas in the 1950s through early 1970s. Rather it is Castro’s sensitive search for knowledge and enlightenment about his own tenacious – and sometimes stubbornly stumbling -- path to maturity while bearing the heavy burden of unrequited love for a white girl. His literary trek is enlightening, engaging and, for him, humbling. He reflects on that journey with hindsight and wisdom.

Tony’s introspective memoir tears down the “invisible wall” that Mexico’s late literary giant Octavio Paz says shields “The Mexican” from himself. In this sometimes scathing confrontation with himself, Castro -- and the reader -- finds some answers, but not the ones either may have been seeking . . . or anticipated.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

More Thoughts From Facebook

Tony, I downloaded the Kindle version earlier today and started reading and couldn't put it down...until my battery died after finishing Part 1..LOL Your openess in telling your story is so heartwarming and the historical information you included added so much depth to the story. I'm really enjoying the humerous stories..makes me laugh! Congratulations on a great book!!

Chuck Hughes I have the print copy and I could not put it down. I plan on reading the book again to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Thoughts From Facebook

Emily Kapavik Cates shared your photo: "Tony is a high school friend. His new
book THE PRINCE OF SOUTH WACO is a must read. One of my favorites is
THE GREAT GATBSY, and Tony is right up there with Fitzgerald!"

Jane Yardley Russo Reading it now! It's really good. Everyone who grew up in Waco during the 50's and 60's will relate to this story, no matter which part of town you called home.
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New Site Coming for 'The Prince of South Waco'

This the rough draft of the new site for The Prince of South Waco:
It will eventually be at

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Love Story Without End

Check out this review from former Houston Chronicle Editor Tony Pederson:

Tony Castro has written a poignant coming-of-age book that provides startling and frequently disturbing insights into growing up Hispanic and talented in central Texas in the 1950s and 1960s. He lays bare the tortured and sometimes heartbreaking soul of his youth and life as a young adult. Those of us who grew up in Waco can readily identify with the descriptions of a small city being dragged into the 20th Century in terms of race and culture.

I must disclose that I am mentioned briefly in the book. The wedding to my wife of 39 years is described in vivid and idealist terms. Tony was best man at that wedding. Some years later, I was best man at his. I was also witness to many of the events described in the book as Tony has been a close friend of mine for more than 40 years. Any bias in this review is strictly mine, and I alone am responsible. Yet, this is a book that transcends the stereotype of books about youth of any age. As well, it transcends descriptions of the racial issues that plagued the United States in a former age and, to some extent, continue to this day.

The human condition is by nature filled with heartache and difficulties, some of our own making and some not. With a sense that borders on the Kafkaesque, Tony reveals his painful and stinging awareness that he is different in terms of skin color, religion, and culture. In his flowing prose, Tony frequently offers a background richly textured in Western literature with which he is intimately familiar. It is a painful self-examination of a life that, ultimately, is fueled by a passionate optimism to succeed and to be self-fulfilling. It is beautifully written and a fascinating emotional and intellectual exploration of times past, present and future. It is a love story without end.

Tony Pederson
Belo Distinguished Chair in Journalism
Southern Methodist University