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Tattoos on the Heart by Fr. Gregory Boyle, S.J.
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Book Summary

 

Tattoos on the Heart

 

In this artful, disquieting, yet surprisingly jubilant memoir, Jesuit priest Boyle recounts his two decades of working with homies in Los Angeles County, which contains 1,100 gangs with nearly 86,000 members.  Boyle's Homeboy Industries is the largest gang intervention program in the country, offering job training, tattoo removal, and employment to members of enemy gangs.  Effectively straddling the debate regarding where the responsibility for urban violence lies, Boyle both recounts the despair watching kids you love cooperate in their own demise and levels the challenge to readers to stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it.  From moving vignettes about gangsters breaking into tears or finding themselves worthy of love and affirmation, to moments of spiritual reflection and funny banter between him and the homies, Boyle creates a convincing and even joyful treatise on the sacredness of every life.  Considering that he has buried more than 150 young people from gang-related violence, the joyful tenor of the book remains an astounding literary and spiritual feat.

  - From Publisher's Weekly Starred Review

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Joan Hopkins's picture
Joan Hopkins

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