I'm glad I listened to this book, rather than read it. Father Boyle does a wonderful job of telling his story, getting the accents and ages and dialects so "just right." He's a powerful artist on many levels and his voice is just one of his skills.
The memoir is really a collection of anecdotes about the people he's encountered during his 20 years developing and running "Homeboy Industries" in a neighborhood in Los Angeles known as the "gang capital."
His stories are a walk into a world many of us could not imagine is real but is, in fact, deadly so, endearingly so, dangerously so. But they also provide hope and humor while they break your heart. It's a wonderful gift Boyle has to be able to make the people he's encountered come very much alive and make us care about them. And if you don't laugh out loud and also find yourself tearing up at least once while you listen to this, you're made of stone.
Recommend without hesitation.
I'm not even done with this book and I feel compelled to write about it. It's really great. My wife is listening to it, too, and she feels the same way..
First, this guy's voice is FANTASTIC. Because he wrote the book he tells it with his own personal inflections and emphasis, and he's a GREAT story teller. You feel like you're in the room with him.
And his stories are really moving and touching. I am so impressed that someone would dedicate years of their life to helping gang kids like this. I can only imagine how rewarding and uplifting it must be.
Want to be reminded of the goodness of the world? Want to have clear evidence there are incredible people who put others ahead of themselves? Want to see how one person can change so many others' lives? Want to just FEEL GOOD after listening to a book?
Listen to this one.
A few must reads: Mr. Mercedes, Narrows Gate, Cop Town, Bomb Proof, Wayfaring Stranger, The Son (Nesbo), Dept Q series...
Father Greg is a living inspiration. His parish is in the most violent part of L.A. His story is unique, which makes these homilies, tales and antidotes spiritually renewing.
One of the absolute best!
The humility, love and compassion of father Boyle.
The whole book.
An absolute must read.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
Every Christian, alright every PERSON, needs to listen to Father Boyle's Tattoos on the Heart. Because he has absolutely NAILED IT DOWN. One day at a time, one person at a time, he is loving people, accepting people, walking through the valley with people. Only by the grace of God, were you or I NOT born to a mother in the ghetto, into a gang ridden neighborhood. And are we BETTER than those who are born there??? NO, NO, NO . . . In so many ways we are poorer and more pitiful. We cannot see the forest for the trees. The story of the young father who would go home and watch his young children eat supper, DELIGHTING in them, after having worked all day long, not touching any food for himself, until his wife and children had been satisfied, touched me so deeply. If then, there was any food left, he would eat, if not, he didn't, having FILLED HIMSELF up with delight. A former gang member, this young man, had found himself and found that he was worthy of being loved. We try to complicate the gospel of Jesus Christ, sometimes just to try to get out of having to DO SOMETHING, I think. When we do that, we are robbing others and robbing ourselves.
After reading this wonderful book I went to the HomeboyIndustries website and ordered a hardbound copy for my personal library. I want to be able to refer back to certain chapters and read quotes to friends and family.
There is no comparison that immediately comes to my mind, however, Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers, would be a good supplementary read for anyone questioning the practice of criminalizing the poor and/or emotionally wounded people who have received little or no support in their lives. Gladwell's book demonstrates that people succeed largely through some proven advantage. This underscores Boyles simple brilliance in working with gang members. He offers genuine love and encouragement while working within his community to create "jobs" rather than jails.
I'm glad he read his own book, It let the listener get an even deeper feel for who this man is.
I laughed and cried. Cried because I hunger to hear stories about the love in action. It was healing for me to hear these stories.
I wish there was a Gregory Boyle University where people could get degrees in Kindness, Generosity and Understanding.
Storyteller, reading teacher, author...when it comes to stories/books, it's my vice and I have unashamedly made addicts of my entire family!
What is not to love about the compassion and love and commitment of Gregory Boyle's service as a parish priest making a real difference in the barrio? He is an amazing storyteller both as author and narrator; it takes skill to tell true anecdotal stories and find a common thread to connect them into a larger context.
It makes a connection to The Help, although it is a fictional book. Both books contain many small stories within a lager context. In these books we are offered a glimpse of human dignity, spirituality and raw truth.
Each story of an individual triumph was my favorite in the moment. I also liked the contrast of stories that ended less than fairy tale. Together they depicted the harsh reality of living in gangland which showed the successes of Delores Mission and Homeboy Industries as extraordinary accomplishments.
I found a depth of emotional poignancy in this book. It gave me a new perspective into a group of people who are easy to stereotype or marginalize in our society.
This book helped me see failings in myself and society. It is so easy to judge that which we do not understand, or that we have distanced ourselves from.
Gregory Boyle, or "G" as the gang members he works with call him, is a wonderful story teller. In "Tattoos on the Heart" he's taken the stories he's collected from many years of working as a priest with gang members and their families in East L.A. and shared them with us. No other narrator could have read them as well as he has, with the dialects and intonations and experience of retelling these stories. But I'll warn you, it's hard to get through the stories without shedding tears. Boyle has buried nearly 200 people over the years due to gang violence. His dedication and selflessness is lovely to see. Don't get me wrong--he's not tooting his own horn, but merely relating his experiences of trying to get through to these young men and women. There are successes, but many failures. I found the book a wonderful encouragement and will most likely read it again.
Nothing. The book was bad, not the narration.
Cut-out all the long-winded, barely relevant sections discussing his personal theology and religion. He should have stuck to the anecdotes and stories. Obviously religion would take part in these stories, since the man is a pastor, but he often veers off the story to preach at his readers.
I did not finish it. What prompted me to turn it off (after quite a few moments of anger), was the author's comment about how he doesn't think it's possible for anyone to help other human beings if not motivated by religion. That was the final eye roll. It is hard to believe how he had any success helping people with a judgmental attitude like that. The book was consistently preachy, the author did not seem particularly sympathetic.
I do not cry much. I cried through 50% of this book but in a good way. It is a beautiful collection of stories told in a touching manner by the man who experienced them. For someone who is just beginnning a career in social work, this was an invigorating listen. My only warning is if you are listening in public, wear sunglasses to hide your tears.