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Before reading this book I was skeptical about how I would be drawn to this book. It didn’t seem like a book I’d be interested in nor be taken to it. As I got to read the book it took me immediately. I liked the reality of how the book was and it felt like I was getting to know each person individually and it gave me a connection to them where I was proud of everything happening for them throughout the book. Every inch of this book hit directly to the heart and was heartfelt and touching. 

Tattoos on the Heart is an awe-inspiring book. It’s a book where through the troubles and through the challenges a difference was made through a community that not many seek to help. This book has opened my eyes to where I can push myself to doing the ‘impossible’. Father Gregory Boyle made a huge impact within gangs everywhere and within prisons. He sought to do the unseeable.

In the 1980s, Father Gregory Boyle began to preach at a Catholic church in Los Angeles. He witnessed how much gang violence there was and felt that he could make a difference by using his religious training. He reformed the rules of the church and made it more welcoming to people who were not members of gangs. He also started a school program for those students who had been expelled from their regular schools because they belonged to gangs. Finally, with help from philanthropist Ray Stark, he founded Homeboy Industries, which provides employment opportunities as well as tattoo removal services for ex-gang members looking for change in their lives.” He helped change the lives of many and worked with many people to where they were able to have a decent life towards fixing themselves and bettering themselves. 

I have a liking for this book because of the motivation it gave me. It gave me the mindset of helping others no matter what. Boyle helped gang members and was “shunned” upon when he gave them employment. Boyle never had a second doubt in helping them on the right path and he helped them get to where they wanted to go. He never pushed, but instead guided. He gave them the choice of wanting to be helped and when they take that chance it helps me think on how I want to help people. From the start of elementary school I have always enjoyed helping people and that’s what I have always done and continue to do. I want to be that reliable person that others know they can go to when they need whatever help they need. I want to be like Boyle who helped throughout his life and became that person and that advocate for others. “Boyle has tried to be a compassionate person who never puts anyone out of his heart. He sees this spiritual quality as “the wallpaper of Jesus’ soul.” 

To think upon this as you read this book, think about real life and how you can model out what Boyle has done. As you read this book, think about how you yourself can make that difference for the world.

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January 21, 2022 9:24 pm

I like this book too. It is probably one of my favorite books from theology class. It gives a world from a different perspective and some fascinating stories. Besides, all the divine interpretations behind each story, all of the stories reflect that human nature is good. Former gang members and rivals could get along and give empathy to each other, which is pretty cool.

January 21, 2022 9:19 pm

I would second this. The novel not only portrays a new reality but connects us to it. The novel is profound because it makes us realize that there is no shame in being different or holding a past. It is a matter of moving forward and being the change we want to see in the world.

January 11, 2022 8:46 pm

Dear Nyalok, I am delighted by your post, Tattoos on the Heart since you have a great way with words and inspiring others to read this book. Relating it to your own life gave it the right emotion needed to sway a reader towards a type of literature.
One sentence that you wrote that stood out to me was, “He gave them the choice of wanting to be helped and when they take that chance it helps me think on how I want to help people. From the start of elementary school I have always enjoyed helping people and that’s what I have always done and continue to do.” because I was able to relate to it since, I too, want to help others and believe becoming a teacher would be the right career path for me since I have always loved being there at the guidance of children.
Thank you for your writing, I look forward to seeing what you write next because you have an amazing way with your words. Thank you for your time and effort into this.


January 5, 2022 7:45 pm

I could not agree more with how much positivity it brings into your life. It is all too true. Father Boyle did so many amazing things with Homeboy industries. I also agree with you in that I wasn’t sure how interested I was going to be in this book yet after reading it again you see how much it touches you. Again I could not agree more with you.

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