Books · Inspiring · Los Angeles · NPR

Tattoos on the Heart

Tattoos on the Heart is a book that will imprint itself on you as soon as you start reading it. I’ve been looking forward to my date with this book before I fall asleep every night, and the minute I got to the last page, I just flipped the book back to the first page, and started reading it again.

It’s because it’s about one of my favorite topics: redemption.

It’s heart-breaking, and hilarious, wise, and beautiful and just a great, uplifting book, about what Faith should be for everyone who believes. I can’t even adequately express how much I enjoyed the stories in this book.

After a quarter of a century working with gang-members, Father G (Gregory Boyle) has amassed some pretty amazing “homie-propisms” that will make you laugh out loud, some comebacks that belong on a professional stand-up routine, some stories that hold their own along the classics of crisis and victory, and some wisdom that everyone can live by, because it’s been proven in the trenches, and it’s bulletproof.

I don’t want to ruin it by excerpting them for you, or reproducing them, you should really just discover this gem on your own, at your own pace, and knit your own relationship with this amazing book, that anyone living in LA should own.

This is a link to a great interview of Father Boyle with Terri Gross on Fresh Air, if you want to hear some stories that are in the book. It’s quite amazing.


4 thoughts on “Tattoos on the Heart

  1. I finally found my way to the three-legged duck. Sounds exciting mademoiselle, great review can’t wait to read it when I go either to Joburg or return to southern California.

    I find little time to read these days now that I am moving my fingers on the “clavier” like a beginning pianist. Thanks for your kind encouragements.

  2. V, I love you and wish we lived nearer.

    Tattoos on the Heart: Stories of Hope and Compassion by Gregory Boyle
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars
    Recommended on my friend Violetta’s blog:…and she says that it will “imprint itself on your heart”, which is totally, totally true. Funny stories became funnier read out loud, and I cried at least three times per chapter.It is one of those books that I want to recommend to everyone, even if they are God-hating atheists, even if they hate swear-words, even if they don’t like humour, even if they have nil interest for gangs, even if they only ever read linear stories, or fiction, or books written by women.It’s just an incredible, astounding book, filled with exactly the kinds of words of love that should be our daily breath. Living near to such a fabulous library system, I hardly ever buy books anymore, apart from those I pick up at garage sales, but this will definitely be an exception.Thank you, V.

    View all my reviews >>

    1. I cannot believe you read a book on my recommendation! I feel so…honored and touched!


      I really wish we lived closer, but I feel so close to you right now, knowing we’ve read the same book! I still have Tatoos on the Heart near my bed, and just look for it, and read it again once in a while. That book lifted my soul, and connected me to people, connected me to my desire to serve and be there for my neighbors, and really altered the way I see Faith, more as a “get your hands really dirty” business than a bunch of prayers rising fervently, day after day, with no empirical follow up.

  3. I’m currently reading this book and everything you say is absolutely true. It’s beautiful, heartbreaking, and hilarious. I love the insights he shares about the particular people and their personal conversations because it just shows how much hope is out there and how smart EVERYONE on our planet can be and how much themselves they are. I loved how the encouraging repetition of the book was to be yourself, everyone needs to remember that. :) Thanks for your review.

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