Father Boyle and his new book hit the circuit

father-greg.jpgDouble praise in the L.A. Times today from friends of Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries for his new memoir, "Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion." Op-Ed columnist Tim Rutten writes that he sat down to read the book with a friend's trepidation for what awaits. But he concludes "I got up glowing with the exhilaration that contact with first-rate literature confers. 'Tattoos on the Heart' is destined to become a classic of both urban reportage and contemporary spirituality." In Calendar, Celeste Fremon also gets personal:

Boyle was already not writing his book when I met him in the fall of 1990. I'd heard that a Jesuit priest operated some sort of gang ministry out of a small Catholic church located east of the Los Angeles River between the public housing projects of Pico Gardens and Aliso Village....

there was nothing particular to suggest that the smart, Hancock Park-raised boy with the triple master's degrees (masters of divinity, of sacred theology and of English) would find himself radicalized by a year among the poor of Bolivia and come home to run the nation's best-known gang intervention program, surrogate-fathering the kids whom most of the rest of the culture wanted to lock up and forget.


At last count, he's buried 168 young men and women whom he's surrogate-fathered. Burying kids you know causes a psychic rending. Over the years, I have watched the deaths take pieces out of Boyle. But here's the thing: his is a heart that regenerates, miraculously so.

Fremon is the author of "G-Dog and the Homeboys: Father Greg Boyle and the Gangs of East Los Angeles," published in 1995. Boyle is back east this week for readings.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent Books stories on LA Observed:
Pop Sixties
LA Observed Notes: Bookstore stays open, NPR pact
Al Franken in Los Angeles many times over
His British invasion - and ours
Press freedom under Trump and the Festival of Books
Amy Dawes, 56, journalist and author
Richard Schickel, 84, film critic, director and author
The Lost Journalism of Ring Lardner: An Interview with Ron Rapoport


LA Observed on Twitter