Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tattoo” as Want to Read:
Tattoo
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Tattoo

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  127 ratings  ·  15 reviews
TATTOO continues the earthy, honst, and ultimately triumphant story begun by Earl Thompson in A Garden of Sand. It is an epic account of a generation--America in the 1940s.
Paperback, 688 pages
Published January 21st 1993 by Carroll & Graf (first published January 1st 1974)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Tattoo, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Tattoo

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 216)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Szplug
Leaving behind his crumpled mother with competing feelings of disgust and longing for her glory days of radiant, knee-weakening red hair and run-free hose, Jack flees his taboo-transgressing penury in order to inveigle his way into the United States Navy and swap the dust and grime of urban-hopping for that of the salt and spray of chasing islands. The hardships and hard knocks, con jobs and concupiscence, back-slapping and backhanding, grifts and griefs, sad sacks and sack-hopping of A Garden o ...more
Quentin
A true dime store novel -- and I mean that in the best possible way. No pretentiousness here.

One of those wonderfully lurid bits of pulp that could only be pounded out by some guy chain smoking Chesterfields, while swigging from a fifth of scotch next to the old Remington; chock full of gritty violence and hot 'n' steamy sex. Makes ya nostalgic for a time when the public devoured books like this, rather than vampire novels, or touchy-feely chick lit.
Fred Lehman
Great reading. One of the best I've ever read. It's so easy to follow, and relate to the main character. Interesting to the point of picking it up first thing in the morning.
Craig Kelly
Earl Thompson is a great writer.
Derek Perumean
I took 5 1/2 years of English in high school and I learned one important lesson: high school English sucks! I came away from all my honors courses thinking that if guys like Hemingway hadn't shot himself or Fitzgerald hadn't drank himself to death I'd be forced to kill them myself. Then when I was in the Navy I was stationed in Bremerton, WA for awhile. Right outside the base on my way to the ferry terminal I'd stop at a cool little comic book store that also sold used paperbacks (Sadly, it's go ...more
wally
just finished w/a garden of sand...jacky, 14 in may in that one, determined to join the marines, on his way back to wichita...now this one....

okay...so here at the 186 page mark and the war is over.

this one starts out w/this line:
that germany had surrendered smacked of yet another damn thing too keep the boy from glory.

and i'm reminded of john knowles's story, a separate peace.

about the only thing the two stories might have in common is that boys want to go to war, want to be men, want to establ
...more
Matt
Started this morning and just finished. This book could be the 'you' version of Edward Fortyhands. Incredibly well-written and moving, with many sections about love and loss and how to fuck it all up that cut you deep.
Paul B.
The entire book is apparently an excuse for the protagonist to bed as many ladies of the night as possible. Repeated failures and disappointments make for a supremely depressing and frustrating novel, which I guess is what Thompson was going for here. The coming-of-age aspect if engaging, and it is compelling to watch this guy try to grapple with a broken world in a narration that is gritty, graphic and no-holds-barred. Nonetheless, despite a few rather sublime parts this novel is a grungy traip ...more
D.H. Benson
I first read this book at age 18. It was unlike any book I had read. It was explicit, graphic and shocking. I couldn't put it down. Earl Thompson wrote in a frank manner about subjects and topics that people did not want to acknowledge. The cast of characters is rich, varied and bizarre. The book is a journey in time from Wichita, Kansas to China after World War II to the Korean War.
Robert C.
I read this book in 1977, when I was about 19 or so. In the Navy, and if I remember right, alot of time on my hands. It was a thick book,(paperback) and I remember it taking quite awhile to get through it. 35 years later and I can still recall some of the things I read. It made a profound impact on my life at the time.
Dennis
This book just blew me away with its stripped-to-the-bone un-nostalgic look at a young man's growing up from Depression poverty and seeking refuge in the Navy, a little too late for war but ready for life. The sex and realism really come through - nothing glossed over here.
Viki
Lengthy story about a young boy and his dysfunctional family. Jack joins the navy at the end of WWII to try to escape his horrible upbringing. One sordid adventure after another takes Jack through disappointment and disillusion with life. Well written but very graphic.
Brad Iles
The last of my collection of 20c flea-market books. It would have had more impact if it was a lot shorter, a lot of it was quite repetitive.
Kolan
read when I was 14. quite lurid and made an impression
Alex Webb
Very long but pretty good
Wale99
Wale99 marked it as to-read
Feb 05, 2015
Kumar Yagnaraman
Kumar Yagnaraman marked it as to-read
Feb 02, 2015
Kenneth Baxley
Kenneth Baxley marked it as to-read
Feb 01, 2015
Karen
Karen marked it as to-read
Jan 30, 2015
Jaquita
Jaquita marked it as to-read
Jan 04, 2015
James
James marked it as to-read
Jan 03, 2015
Cindy
Cindy added it
Jan 02, 2015
Nosierosie
Nosierosie marked it as to-read
Dec 11, 2014
Clint
Clint marked it as to-read
Dec 08, 2014
Dean
Dean marked it as to-read
Dec 03, 2014
Michael
Michael marked it as to-read
Dec 02, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Here's to You, Jesusa!
  • The Bridge in the Jungle
  • The Broken Road: From the Iron Gates to Mount Athos
  • The Devil Drives: A Life of Sir Richard Burton
  • History of My Life, Vols 1-2
  • A Flag For Sunrise
  • Quartered Safe Out Here: A Harrowing Tale of World War II
  • Flaubert in Egypt: A Sensibility on Tour
  • The Snoring Bird: My Family's Journey Through a Century of Biology
  • Las muertas
  • Love and War in the Apennines
  • Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis
  • Tokyo: A Certain Style
  • Norwood
  • The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo
  • A Visit to Don Otavio
  • The Ohlone Way
  • The Rise of the Meritocracy
223854
Earl Thompson ( May 24, 1931 – November 9, 1978 ) was a leading American writer of naturalist prose. Nominated for the National Book Award for A Garden of Sand and chosen by the Book of the Month Club for Tattoo, Thompson died suddenly at the peak of his success, having published just three novels—the fourth The Devil to Pay, was published posthumously.
More about Earl Thompson...
A Garden of Sand Caldo Largo The Devil to Pay Garden of Sand The Last of the Con-Men

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »