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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

4.6 (629 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Lori Pham Las Vegas, NV 01-31-15
    Lori Pham Las Vegas, NV 01-31-15 Member Since 2014

    LLPNLV

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    "Wow! Break my heart wide open!"

    Wonderful in every way. I couldn't stop listening to Tattoos on the Heart. Laughter, tears, laughter, tears. One story after another of the beauty of compassion and each no less powerful and touching than the one proceeding. Thank you, thank you, thank you Gregory Boyle for sharing these incredible stories and imparting your inspiring faith.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Taylor 01-30-15
    Taylor 01-30-15 Member Since 2010
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    "touching and thought provoking"

    Jesus taught us to live among and love the dirty, the poor, the downtrodden. Gregory Boyle took that love to the streets in this sometimes heartwrenching and sometimes hilarious memoir.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Anthold Porter Ranch, CA, United States 01-30-15
    Dave Anthold Porter Ranch, CA, United States 01-30-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Hope is Delivered in the Midst of Turf Wars"

    Tattoos on the Heart will make you laugh and cry and sometimes at the same time. The principles wrapped in the story of love for those society thinks are unlovable is extraordinary.

    If you allow it, this book will guide you to an understanding of Christ, a love for those who are hurting and challenge you to deal with your own thoughts and feelings on the subject.

    The author conveys the struggles and victories and invites you to share in this mission. This book is a must read for anyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Ham Lake, MN, United States 01-18-15
    Deborah Ham Lake, MN, United States 01-18-15
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    "Makes you think"

    It was very interesting to listen to this book and the take of someone who works year after year with gang members. His point of view of compassion and unconditional love was challenging for me but it gave me lots of food for thought and a different way to think about "those people" such as gang members in a different light, and also how God views all of us.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl CRESTVIEW, FL, United States 01-17-15
    Cheryl CRESTVIEW, FL, United States 01-17-15 Member Since 2013
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    "POWERFUL"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Tattoos on the Heart to be better than the print version?

    Did not read the print version but I was say it had to be since it was narrated by the author. I had to look him up on Google so I could but a face with the voice.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Tattoos on the Heart?

    When G and the Home Boys went to Washington. This book made me laugh out loud and cry without ceasing at times.


    Have you listened to any of Gregory Boyle’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, I had to drag myself out of my car after I reached my destination.


    Any additional comments?

    Is this book doesn't move you, you need to go have your heart checked out. This book is now on my top three list of all time favorites. Non-fiction can move me like no fiction book can.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert 01-08-15
    Robert 01-08-15 Member Since 2010
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    "This book is like a great song"

    Life affirming, with humor, heartbreak and stories that compelled me to hit rewind

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 11-18-14
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 11-18-14 Member Since 2013

    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.

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    "Real Life Parables for Today WWJD"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sue 11-09-14
    Sue 11-09-14 Member Since 2013
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    "A Light towards Social Sanity"
    Would you listen to Tattoos on the Heart again? Why?

    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.


    What other book might you compare Tattoos on the Heart to and why?

    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.


    What about Gregory Boyle’s performance did you like?

    I'm glad he read his own book, It let the listener get an even deeper feel for who this man is.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    I wish there was a Gregory Boyle University where people could get degrees in Kindness, Generosity and Understanding.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carri Norton Shores, MI, United States 09-02-14
    Carri Norton Shores, MI, United States 09-02-14 Member Since 2013

    Storyteller, reading teacher, author...when it comes to stories/books, it's my vice and I have unashamedly made addicts of my entire family!

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    "Honest, raw and beautifully told."
    What did you love best about Tattoos on the Heart?

    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.


    What other book might you compare Tattoos on the Heart to and why?

    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.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    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.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mama C 06-20-14
    Mama C 06-20-14 Member Since 2008
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    "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
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