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Chapter 1
Set in urban Los Angeles
Follows a fledgling Jesuit, (Greg) Boyle, as he addresses the issues of gang violence through a medium of faith and missionary work in impoverished neighborhoods
Characters: Bill Cain and Boyle
Bill is a friend to Boyle, as well as his spiritual director
Boyle is a priest
Bill’s dad is sick, so they spend a lot of time together
Even though he is ill, Bill’s dad makes a great effort to take care of him while he is still alive
To Boyle, Bill’s father personifies God
Always taking care of his dependents, no matter the circumstances
Bill doesn’t discriminate to whom he gives spiritual direction
Criminals and regular people alike
Some local journalists come to the church to interview him about his work
Bill exemplifies that God is indiscriminately compassionate and caring
Character: Willy
One of Bill’s pupils
Asks him for food and money
Bill gives him a lift and tells Willy to pay for it
He doesn’t just hand things out, truly cares for his people and wants to get them back on their feet 
Chapter 2
Boyle celebrates mass in a Los Angeles probation camp
Baptizes infants and witnesses marriages at his parish also
He meets with Carmen
Prostitute and drug user
She wants to get off the streets and live a clean life
Boyle believes that everyone is called to love God as he loves them
This speaks to Carmen, as she has hit rock bottom and thinks all hope is lost
The neighborhood Boyle works in falls into a drug infused bacchanalia 
Some kids set off fireworks outside his office 
Boyle now finds Danny, who is ashamed and begins to cry
Danny lies, saying he didn’t do it
Boyle gives Danny $5 for food, in return all he wants is for Danny to come clean
Boyle postulates that people are shameful of themselves and their actions because they don’t love themselves
Boyle talks now about Lula
He is a 20 year old special needs father
He suffered from attention deficit problems in school and would frequently get all F’s on his report card
Boyle has known Lula since he was 10 years old
Lula found a positive and some self love that Boyle preaches everyone needs, in the fact that he never missed a day of school
Lula is also supported by his church community
Lula really is a direct embodiment of most parishioners of Boyle’s church, someone who has struggled and continues to at times do so, but earnestly seeks to better himself
Chapter 3
Boyle instructs prisoners on theological issues in fictional literature at Folsom State prison in California
He asks his pupils to define in their own words what compassion means
 No one raises their hand
Eventually someone answers, saying “Compassion is God”
Boyle agrees wholeheartedly, stating that to be compassionate is to emulate how Jesus acted during his time on earth
Boyle now discusses Betito
Witty, raised speaking Spanish, but learns English quickly
Benito is tragically killed in a gang shooting while with his cousins
Boyle struggles himself not to have hatred for Benito’s killers
Boyle struggles and wrestles with his conscience, but eventually comes to forgive them and not judge them
Chapter 4
Boyle has baptized scores of people in Los Angeles during his ministry
He discusses George Martinez, a teenager who asks to be baptized right after his GED exam
George’s brother, Cisco, is murdered nearly immediately before his baptism
George insists the sacrament still be performed, and it is a very lachrymose ceremony
George’s commitment to his faith and to have a positive lifestyle are mirrored by his decision to be baptized, even in what is most likely the worst moment of his life 
Enter Natalie
Spent time in jail, now works for Boyle and philanthropist Ray Stark’s charity, Homeboy Industries
Seeks to get at risk youth off the street via education, counseling, and work
Natalie’s mother used to be in a gang and is a drug abuser
Boyle dreams of Natalie singing
Crowd boos her, but as she goes on they embrace her
Unlike gangs and the streets, Boyle and the church offer her unconditional love
Chapter 5
Enter David
 Comes into Boyle’s office, says he knows someone who thinks his sermons are boring
David doesn’t have the same opinion as this person he knows, and jokes with Boyle saying he just has to use “bigger words”
This shows that Boyle has truly connected with the people in his care
Boyle now talks about Omar
Omar asks Boyle how many people he has had to bury because of gang violence
Boyle answers 75 people and Omar is shocked, posing the question of when will the brutality end
Boyle answers, saying it is up to him, and when he (and the members of his community) decide to not stoop to the low level of gang violence, it will all be over
Chapter 6
Walking to work one day, Boyle passes an alcoholic man named Junior
Junior shouts to Boyle, saying love you, and that Boyle is in his “jurisdiction”
Boyle equates jurisdictions with lines being drawn, lines that exclude
He tells himself that in his jurisdiction, he will welcome as many people as possible
Boyle reminisces of a drug dealer named Flaco
PCP addict
While on a angel dust induced bender, Flaco wanders onto a highway, and is struck by a car. He lives by the Grace of God, but has his left arm amputated
Boyle visits him in the hospital, and overhears some of Flaco’s rivals saying that they’re happy Flaco got hit by a car.
Boyle lashes out at them, saying they should never speak like that again
Boyle has a bout of just anger, but tries to stay compassionate
Boyle recounts a memory of two gang members, Richie and Chepe, whose lives were at risk because of rival gangs
They needed to get out of town
Boyle brings them with him to Bakersfield for a lecture he is giving
They stop at a restaurant, something alien to Richie and Chepe. They have never been somewhere with waiters, and they are intimidated by the wealthy people there.
Richie and Chepe are in awe that the waitress treats them like a regular person, instead of a commodity like the gangs do
In such a simple encounter, Richie and Chepe are inspired to respect themselves since they never have in gang culture, and stay on the path that Boyle wants to set for them
Boyle says mass at a prison, where racial tension runs deep and gang rivalries abound
At the mass, the Latino and Caucasian prisoners sit together, showing that the issues they have involving race are trivial.
One prisoner sings alone during the responsory, and it is not very good
Even Boyle laughs
Soon the whole room bursts out laughing, bringing the prisoners together for a moment, over something as small as some poor singing
 Chapter 7
Boyle is on a Spanish radio talk show
He acknowledges that life is hard and is only worth living if it is enjoyable to some extent. He seeks to help people find this joy
One of his employees at Homeboy Industries calls the show, saying he is calling in sick for the day
This forces Boyle to take a step back and realize that this truly is the life cut out for him and that he would not trade it for anything in the world
Elaborating on this enjoyment of life, Boyle speaks of Spider
Spider is a nineteen year old former gangbanger, who is married and has two kids 
Boyle sees that Spider takes joy in his work at Homeboy Industries, and takes pride in providing for his family
We know are shown the image of Boyle’s father, who dies a month after being diagnosed with a brain tumor coupled by a poor prognosis
Boyle was with his father in his final moments, and recounts his father’s labored breathing 
He equates this to life, where one inhales faith and happiness and exhales love and compassion for other people
At a parish meeting, an elderly woman named Lupe speaks of an image of the Virgin Mary appearing on a tortilla
She thinks it is a sign from God to people on earth, but someone else in the meeting offers a rebuttal, saying God does not work like that
Boyle concurs, going on to say that the faithful here on earth should not wait for clear cut signs from God, but rather live as Christ did and bring all people into our “jurisdiction”
Boyle now talks about loving God, and how many people erroneously think that it is too difficult to love Him or believe that God is too intimidating to be worshipped
He speaks of his students stumbling over words in scripture and accidentally swapping words for others. One student says accidentally the Lord is nothing I will want
This all symbolizes that normal people can be amplified and made great by Christ and his Church
 Chapter 8
Here Boyle talks about a gang member named Scrappy
Scrappy worked for H.I., and was unfortunately shot dead
His death left a scar on his family and friends, and affected Boyle particularly negatively
Boyle is inconsolable, and one of Scrappy’s friends comes up to him, saying he wished he could just make it all go away for him
This hits Boyle hard, showing how intertwined he is to the people he works with
Next, Boyle speaks of the many people who think they have a duty to better the live of the poor
He has a different approach, thinking that we should do as Jesus did and share in their sufferings, and thus share a part out of our lives with them
Chapter 9
Boyle now shares that he believes we all belong to one another, and that people often forget that 
 He recommends that we all stop to realize we are bound together in the human family
He always gives his card to criminals before they have to serve prison sentences
He tells them that once their out that he can offer them work and have their tattoos- physical, mental, and spiritual- removed
At what appears to be the peak of Boyle’s career, he is recognized by the president, George Bush, and Laura Bush visits the facilities of Homeboy Industries
He is invited to the White House, and is allowed to bring three employees with him
One of them is on parole, and he goes so far as to get Laura Bush to intervene on hos behalf, allowing him to travel to Washington, D.C.
All three of the employees Boyle chose are former gang members, and are shocked at the extravagance of the event they attend
Boyle does not recount the dinner in detail, besides the fact his employees were starstruck and they ate fancy food
Boyle rather reminisces about the flight back to LA
One of his employees says to the flight attendant that he made history by being the first ex gang member invited to meet the president at the White House
The stewardess weeps, exemplifying what Boyle has called the kinship of the human family, and her connection to these strangers she has never met before

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