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Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion | [Gregory Boyle]

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2010 Gregory Boyle. Recorded by arrangement with Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. (P)2011 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (422 )
5 star
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4.5 (375 )
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4.6 (374 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Nico Pretoria, South Africa 05-23-13
    Nico Pretoria, South Africa 05-23-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Awesome, awesome, awesome!"
    Where does Tattoos on the Heart rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the absolute best!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The humility, love and compassion of father Boyle.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The whole book.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Every moment.


    Any additional comments?

    An absolute must read.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 02-03-14
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 02-03-14 Member Since 2005

    Got to be with my too girls from Tx and Mt! All is right....

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "This was remarkably inspiring..."

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mama C San Juan Capistrano, California United States 06-20-14
    Mama C San Juan Capistrano, California United States 06-20-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    96
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    Story
    "I Dare You Not to Cry"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca 06-09-14
    Rebecca 06-09-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    Story
    "Not a story about gangs, rather, a sermon"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Nothing. The book was bad, not the narration.


    What could Gregory Boyle have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    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.


    What character would you cut from Tattoos on the Heart?

    The protagonist.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pony Atlanta 05-19-14
    Pony Atlanta 05-19-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    7
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    Story
    "Absolutely Beautiful"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Ballwin, MO, United States 05-13-14
    Anne Ballwin, MO, United States 05-13-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Hopeful and inspiring memoir tugs at the heart"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jason clifton, CO, United States 04-27-14
    jason clifton, CO, United States 04-27-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Premise: god loves everyone, everyone!"
    Where does Tattoos on the Heart rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best. The pages of this book hold the key to feeling compassion for everyone.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Father Greg


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When a man came to father Greg and said "some people say this isn't a real church anymore". Father Greg replied "some people say that it finally is"


    Any additional comments?

    God loves everyone, don't matter what you've done or where you've come from.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Schurr Boston, MA 04-12-14
    Eric Schurr Boston, MA 04-12-14 Member Since 2012
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    "This will leave tattoos on YOUR heart"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    susan Port Perry, ON, Canada 04-06-14
    susan Port Perry, ON, Canada 04-06-14 Member Since 2011

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Love in a world I wish no one knew..."

    What a powerful book. Los Angles gangs wars..it seems like a loosing battle. Yet here is one man who pulls a neighborhood together and chooses to face the odds and love those the world has deemed unlovable. Reading this book was a humbling experience and made me question my own values when I go thru union station each morning and see those the city has thrown away.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Motes Tampa 03-30-14
    Sam Motes Tampa 03-30-14 Member Since 2011

    Audible obsessed lifelong learner.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hope and tragedy in the projects"

    A story of unconditional love, acceptance, second chances, longing to be loved, bad decisions, hope, tragedy, and above all belonging. Father Boyle truly has touched many lives of the boys caught up in gangs and struggled to fight against the finality of the existence they have lived. Many rays of hope in this book but also gut wrenching tragedy of the senselessness of violence as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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