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Publisher's Summary

A moving example of unconditional love in difficult times, the best-selling author of Tattoos on the Heart, Father Gregory Boyle, shares what three decades of working with gangs in Los Angeles has taught him about faith, compassion, and the enduring power of radical kinship.

In his first book, Tattoos on the Heart, Father Gregory Boyle introduced us to Homeboy Industries, the largest and most successful gang-intervention program in the world. Critics hailed that book as an "astounding literary and spiritual feat" (Publishers Weekly) that is "destined to become a classic of both urban reportage and contemporary spirituality" (Los Angeles Times). Now, after the successful expansion of Homeboy Industries, Boyle returns with Barking to the Choir to reveal how compassion is transforming the neighborhood that boasts the highest concentration of murderous gang activity in Los Angeles.

In a nation deeply divided and a neighborhood plagued by poverty and violence, Barking to the Choir offers a snapshot into the challenges and joys of life in "the barrio". Jose, arrested at nine, in a gang by 12, and serving time shortly thereafter, now works with the substance-abuse team at Homeboy to help young boys find sobriety. Andre, abandoned by his family when he tried to attend school at age seven, gradually finds forgiveness for his schizophrenic mother. New father Hector, who never knew his own father, thinks of a daily adventure story to tell his four-year-old son. These former gang members uplift the soul and reveal how bright life can be when filled with unconditional love and kindness.

This collection is guaranteed to shake up our ideas about God and about people with a glimpse at a world defined by more compassion and fewer barriers. Gently and humorously, Barking to the Choir invites us to find kinship with one another and reconvinces us all of our own goodness.

©2017 Gregory Boyle (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Kinship in your life

This is a must read for everyone. This is not a religious book but a deep human spirit book. I think everyone can relate to these kids on some level. Most of us will never truly know the depths of their struggles. But if the community that Father “G” has created in this world of hopelessness is possible then we can use his example in our sheltered safe communities and make kinship parr of our lives. I’m gonna try.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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We are all connected in this 🌎 world

I keep trying to write something profound to describe the experience of listening to this book and stories by Father G. And his homies. Kinship , connection , and we belong to each other. Those are the takeaways. Separation is an illusion. God is the/our connection and Father Greg plugs us all in. So great. Thank you. ✌️🙏

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Powerful book

Loved it. And to stay "humble amd tou will never stumble" was such a beautiful way of placing one self closer to God.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Even better than the first book, if thats possible

Pastor Gregory Boyle is a prolific writer. What he has done with his life is amazing! He makes me rethink the kind of person I want to be.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Lens-shifting

What did you love best about Barking to the Choir?

Both this book and Boyle's earlier work, Tattoos on the Heart, have had a deep impact on the way I view my own life and grow compassion for myself and others.

What about Gregory Boyle’s performance did you like?

I have heard Fr. Greg speak in person and I absolutely loved hearing him read these deeply moving accounts.

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

Actually - I wanted to spread it out as long as I could! I didn't want it to end!

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Excellent read!

Narrated by the author himself, Fr. Boyle's inflections, occasional expressions of Spanish, and general overall sensitivity to his subject, injected with humor make this a WANT TO read for anyone interested in the redeemability of those often presumed lost. Thank you for a powerful experience!

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Inspiring

This book was beautiful, inspiring and powerful. Loved it. Definitely recommend it, especially if you're desperate for some goodness in life.

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Opened My Heart

What made the experience of listening to Barking to the Choir the most enjoyable?

Fr. Greg is funny, honest, down to earth, and real. He reads the book beautifully. (Some videos online of him delivering the same material come off almost as stand-up, but the book has a more serious tone.)

What was one of the most memorable moments of Barking to the Choir?

A female homie tells Fr. Greg that she wishes he were God, because she thinks he would let her into heaven. Fr. Greg takes her hands and says "If I get to heaven and you're not there, I'm not stayin'!" This literally made me cry, and I'm still thinking about the theological message behind it. It seems odd that serious Christians like Fr. Greg would spend their lives living among and loving sinners, but then be perfectly happy to spend eternity in heaven while their former friends and neighbors suffer in hell. It seems more likely that they would demand to be sent to hell to minister to the sinners; after all, the people who make it to heaven hardly need them. And that raises a series of interesting questions about divine mercy and justice...

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

I think this book is better--more polished and more reflective--than his earlier Tattoos on the Heart. And, as I mentioned above, it has a more serious tone than some online videos of him telling the same stories.

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

It made me cry, repeatedly, even the third time through. I like it so much I'm teaching it to my political science students next year, and am trying to get my university to bring Fr. Greg to speak. The highest praise I can give is that the book opened my heart and made me capable of more empathy and love. Thank you, Fr. Greg!

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Inspiring

Where does Barking to the Choir rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of my favorite listens so far!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Father G is an incredible human being. He is funny, thoughtful, and humble. I wish I knew more people like him.

What does Gregory Boyle bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I love the nuance when an author reads her/his own story. The comedic timing is perfect, and hearing his voice humanizes him.

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

Yes! I was always disappointed when I had to stop listening.

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powerful message.

acting for the crying parts were odd and kinda distracting. Otherwise the way he read the book made it more interesting