As a pastor working in a neighborhood with the highest concentration of murderous gang activity in Los Angeles, Gregory Boyle created an organization to provide jobs, job training, and encouragement so that young people could work together and learn the mutual respect that comes from collaboration.
Tattoos on the Heart is a breathtaking series of parables distilled from his 20 years in the barrio. Arranged by theme and filled with sparkling humor and glowing generosity, these essays offer a stirring look at how full our lives could be if we practiced compassion.
Erudite, down-to-earth, and utterly heartening, these essays about universal kinship and redemption are moving examples of the power of unconditional love in difficult times and the importance of fighting despair. With Gregory Boyle's guidance, we can recognize our own wounds in the broken lives and daunting struggles of the men and women in these parables and learn to find joy in all of the people around us. Tattoos on the Heart reminds us that no life is less valuable than another.
“One of my favorite books in years. It is lovely and tough and tender beyond my ability to describe.” (Anne Lamott)
“Destined to become a classic of both urban reportage and contemporary spirituality.” (The Los Angeles Times)
“Read, and let your life be changed!” (Father Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation)
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Perhaps the best book I've read in years.
One of the Best Books I Ever Read
I don't live or work among gangs, but I do teach at risk children who are mostly of the same ethnic heritage of Fr. Boyle's parish. Many of his insights were particularly helpful for me in dealing with the parents of my students. Many of my students' parents had been once in gangs or prison. There is as much tragedy as there is humor as there is love in this book.
Fr. Boyle is of that wonderful Irish storyteller's tradition. I loved his stories, some very sad, and some very, very funny.
No, I am not aware of other works by Fr. Boyle. I live in Southern California where he is known throughout as quite a hero by anyone who regularly reads local news or hears it on the radio. I regret that I haven't gone to one of his talks. He travels all around So. CA giving talks.
Yes, I wanted to listen to this all in one sitting. However, Boyle has also some profound thoughts in spirituality and theology interwoven with his tales of working among gangsters. Many times while driving and listening to this, I had to hit the stop button and think for miles about ideas he expressed, fresh ways of thinking about God and our role in the world.
Anyone working with troubled kids or adults should read or hear this book. Anyone studying the art of storytelling should also.