When I go into someone’s house or apartment for the first time, I find myself especially drawn to their bookshelves. I want to see the books that they read and the ones they have on display. I like to know which ones have mattered enough to keep, which ones are dogeared and worn, and which are on the stack to be read next.
This week I read G-Dog and the Homeboys: Father Greg Boyle and the Gangs of East Los Angeles by Celeste Fremon. It’s the story of a young Jesuit priest who, in the 90’s, was sent to East Los Angeles and started working with the young men in the city who were in gangs. Fremon was a reporter who followed Father Greg around for two years reporting on his work and eventually joining him in it for a time.
There was a lot about this book that I liked. Fremon’s narrative is compelling and since this is the third printing of the book you get a long range view of Father Greg’s work and the change that has happened in the lives of many of the young men he worked with.
There is some “white saviour” to the narrative, but I appreciated that Fremon named that (and her place in it) throughout the book. I also wish there would have been more about Father Greg, more about what drives him and his interior life.
Overall, though, I appreciated this story and appreciated the way the book is bookended with highlights about where the people are now and how their lives have changed.
What are you reading these days?
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