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
“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)
The narrator made me feel like I was there with him throughout the story. This story has deepened my faith in God and human beings. It has made me want to be a better person.
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about love and compassion. it will open you to your own inability to love and be loved while inspiring you to keep trying.
Simply a wonderful book beautifully narrated by the author. I didn't know what to expect - would it be cheesy? Would I be able to get into the subject? Etc etc In the end it was a wonderful uplifting and deeply moving collection of stories related to the personal experiences of this amazing man.
Each story contained humour, sadness and a deep message that can apply to everyone and anyone. I found myself listening to bits again and was regularly moved to tears. I rarely recommend audio books but I can't recommend this highly enough. Simply beautiful!
A middle aged surfer dude who travels a lot, lives in SoCal and likes to read only good stuff.
This book takes you into a place you never wanted to go, and makes you want to stay there. It makes you want to raise the influence you have in your own life. So well written, heart felt and entertaining, I will read it again and recommend it to my family and friends. I wish there were more Greg Boyles (or G-dogs) in the world!
Beyond powerful this book takes the humanity of a people disempowered and puts them in front of your face showing you all of their beauty and rawness. Leaving you with no option but to accept the reality, which has always been; these young men and women, like all the other people, are your family sisters and brothers. This book is a look into America with red eyes. This is honesty in prose
Every year, school districts plan some kind of district-wide pep rally to boost morale and start the year off right. In 2012, they invited the author and narrator of "Tattoos on the Heart" to speak at ours. It was easily the best one I’ve ever been to – lucky for me, since that was the year I waved goodbye to esteemed colleagues who I had known for about 17 years and Brent and I moved about 1,300 miles southeast from anyone we knew. It seemed a good time to listen to the book as I’m getting ready for another school year. I’m still the same distance from LA, except that now I’m north. One especially good theme in the collection of stories was that measuring our efforts by outcomes that are either labeled as “successes” or “failures” can be murky, and sometimes it’s a bit beside the point. Clearly, we need to reflect on our contributions, our successes and failures. Sometimes, though, we just need to persist in being a positive force regardless of outcomes, provided we keep an open ear for how we could do better.There was a different theme that kept nettling me until the very end. I value books that force me to ask myself why I think or feel a certain way. Boyle’s main theme – right on the cover, in fact, is using unwavering compassion to enact change, emphasizing that compassion does not mean endorsing someone’s crimes. It does mean that helping people be better not only helps them, but it helps everyone around them. In the process of making this point, Boyle presents stories that underscore reaching out to “victim and victimizer alike” as Homeboy Industries aims to persuade all sides to either literally or figuratively lay down their guns. I could clearly understand how this made sense when talking about the public violence of gangs, so I had to ask myself why that point – helping “victim and victimizer alike” kept prickling at me. By the end, I finally pinned it down. Growing up in a severely sexist church and private school system, that phrase (or a variation of it) came up as well, but often with a much different subject. Rather than discussing the complexities of addressing public violence, this thought was often attached to domestic violence, crimes against children, and bullying. People prided themselves on making gestures to “forgive” and “show compassion” to the perpetuators of these acts. When it came time to address the victims though, they were not just silent, they found a dozen ways to communicate blame. By the last hour of the book though, I had to admit that I was stuck on the phrase “victim and victimizer alike” not because of what the book was actually talking about, but because of how other people have used that sentiment. Ultimately, it was a refreshing way to dwell on a core value that drives a good portion of my life – that we do ourselves, and society, a service when we seek to see people in as much of their entirety as we are able to see them, rather than hastily label and pigeonhole those around us.
I didn't care for the narrrator and the story was not compelling enough for me to stay interested.
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