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.
Profound, Spiritual, and Soothing
The author seems to not leave out any aspect of the human experience--childhood, family, faith, culture, society, humor, love, death, et al.
He was an extremely intelligent man, yet he was also a wonderfully approachable communicator.
Having his work on audio makes all the difference. His voice is so very soothing; I love to just lie in bed after a rough day and listen; it takes away all my stress and gives me a brighter perspective and strength to take on the next day.
Yes, I did react to it strongly, though I am not an emotional person. I play and replay it many, many times because everything he says is so profound that I get more out of the recording each time I hear it, or actually I hear just a part of it at a time (though I do not agree with all of O'Donohue's ideas...I think he went a bit out there at times.) I grew up in a parish staffed by kindly Irish priests, so I think that's part of why I find hearing these recordings very soothing.
I am a longtime Audible member and of all my dozens and dozens of audio books I've purchased over the years, this is my favorite (and it's a bargain being several great books in one purchase!). I think I will also give it as a gift on St. Patrick's Day. Yes, it is a great gift for a friend who has any Irish heritage or interest in the Irish culture, or for someone who loves poetry and who is also spiritual, or probably for most Catholics, though O'Donohue was a former priest and some of his ideas seem New Age--ironically something he criticized--he still identified with Catholicism, had (a very early) Catholic funeral, and most certainly spoke in a very pastoral manner throughout this set of recordings.
This is an absorbing story, better than The Exorcist, at least from the standpoint of authenticity and documentation of the subject. I later saw the trailer of the film LOOSELY based on this book. While it seems like a good film, it makes major changes to the book. The book, narrated by the author, tells the real journey of a Rome UPI based journalist who started off just wanting to write an article about a new Vatican initiative to train and send off an exorcist to every Catholic diocese. So Baglio befriended and followed the experiences of an American priest undergoing what became a thoroughly life altering transformation from a kind of light hearted Bing Crosby type pastor to one who has witnessed "the dark side" and grown very deeply aware of a reality most of us don't want to even think about. The book does not at all see the Devil behind every corner. Indeed it emphasizes that an exorcism only takes place as a last resort after the analyses of a team of a psychologist, medical doctors, and psychiatrist cannot remedy the symptoms and certain overt paranormal activity takes place. Almost all cases are indeed deemed to be of psychological, not demonic, disturbance. It was really spooky to hear of what medical/head shrinker team members (cited by name and institution) reported witnessing. Though I was spellbound hearing this book, I haven't played again it since because it was a draining experience.
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