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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 (652 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Robert 01-08-15
    Robert 01-08-15 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Pony Atlanta 05-19-14
    Pony Atlanta 05-19-14 Member Since 2012
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    "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
  •  
    jason clifton, CO, United States 04-27-14
    jason clifton, CO, United States 04-27-14
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    "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
  •  
    susan Port Perry, ON, Canada 04-06-14
    susan Port Perry, ON, Canada 04-06-14 Member Since 2014

    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 Listener Since 2009

    Audible obsessed lifelong learner.

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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
  •  
    Nancy H. 02-24-14
    Nancy H. 02-24-14

    rocketscience13

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    "Amazing and Life Changing"
    Would you listen to Tattoos on the Heart again? Why?

    This is one of the best audio books I've listened to in many years. Full of compassion and love. It'll make your day to take a listen!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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