Review: Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle

Tattoos on the Heart is written by Father Gregory Boyle, who is the founder of Homeboy Industries.  Homebody Industries helps provides jobs and training (and even tattoo removal) for those in gangs who are looking to turn their life around.
The book talks about various gang members and experiences that “G” (Greg) has had since starting up the organization.  G, an English major, really has a way with words and most of the time I didn’t feel like I was reading a book, but instead I felt like I was having a conversation with G and he was recalling all these stories right in front of me.
Some of the stories made me laugh, especially the section on ‘homie-propisms’, which is when the homies trying to express themselves get a word or two confused with something else – for instance, a note was left for G telling him that a Professor wanted him to come in and talk.  The note stated “You will be constipated” instead of “you will be compensated”!
Some of the stories made me cry – the way that G describes these homies you really feel like you know them, so if anything bad happens to them (and it’s a book about gangs, something bad is bound to happen) it really hits you.
The book is just over 200 pages and has 9 chapters.  Each of the chapters is broken down into smaller sections so you can easily read a story or two before bed. (Almost all the sad stories are followed by something a bit lighter if you’d prefer to not go to bed sad)

All net proceeds from the book are being donated to Homebody Industries.  If you are interested in purchasing a book, you can do so at for $16.50.  (Retail price on the book is $25)  If you’d like to make a donation to Homebody Industries either in addition to purchasing a book or instead of – you can find out more information about the organization at

I was given a free copy of the book to read in order to write a review. I was not told what to write, everything written is my own thoughts.

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