Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion Tattoos on the Heart discussion

Compassion for the "Unloved"

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message 1: by Emma (new)

Emma What most people want more than anything is to be known – known by parents, siblings, classmates, children, friends, and anyone else. But the reality is not everyone is known or even loved. Father Greg Boyle in his memoir Tattoos on the Heart demonstrates the importance of compassion toward gang members and their feeling worthy of love. This Jesuit priest devoted himself to gang rehabilitation when he was assigned to Dolores Mission Church, located in one of the poorest and most violent areas in Los Angeles. Father Boyle is the founder of Homeboy Industries, a gang intervention program that has helped thousands of people. This organization helps gang members who want to change their ways by finding jobs and getting tattoos removed, along with receiving food, water, shelter, clothing, and even counseling. These members explain to Father Boyle in the book that after going to Homeboy Industries they leave with the sense of self-worth, something Father Greg Boyle is known for giving.
Personally, I really like this book. Father Greg Boyle is a very interesting writer, something I was not expecting before opening this memoir. He is witty, even though the topics he is addressing are very emotional ones. This book is composed of short stories of the gang members he has interacted with over the past 20 years. I enjoyed how he mentions each one of them by their names to bring a face to people who forget they are loved. For example, he writes about a young boy named Lula. Lula grew up with a huge family so he was forgotten most of the time. Father Boyle met this scrawny boy and a week later saw him walking down the street so he rolled down his window and said hello. He writes, “His whole body spasms with delight to be known, to be called, to hear his name uttered out loud” (Boyle 47). He then goes on to explain how Lula has trouble learning, but he and the staff have taught him how to tell time and even remember his birthday. He wrote about Lula in Chapter 2, “Dis-Grace.” I thought it was clever that each chapter was an overarching theme and then the stories he told in that chapter related to it. Lula is part of this chapter because most would think it is disgraceful to not know your own birthday at age fourteen, but Father Boyle is not phased. Instead he welcomes Lula and teaches him.
I would recommend this book. It stirs your emotions, but it’s more than just an emotional read. By the end of this book, you realize how important it is to give unconditional love. I would suggest this book to everyone, even people who are not hold any religious affiliation. It is an interesting book because it gives you a look into many people's lives, lives that are foreign to most. It also helps you realize and understand some of your own issues you are dealing with while reading about some of the people Father Boyle has encountered, like Lula. Overall, this well thought out book makes you realize that everyone deserves and needs love and what Father Greg Boyle says about how no life is less valuable than another is very accurate.

message 2: by Emma (new)

Emma Book review

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