Preface and introduction: This section of the book focuses on understanding. The author gives us background information on what the book will be like. This is important because the book is structured differently than most books. It gives short stories with life lessons that incorporate religion. My favorite story was the one about Luis. It showed a man with a bad life that made the best out of his life. He bought his own home that was unheard of and he was so proud. He died from gang members but I liked it because of his understanding on how good it feels to have a good life.
Chapter 1: This chapter focuses on believing in my opinion. The Dolores Mission is a place where gang members can turn their lives around. It would be hard for some of them to trust a stranger especially with what they have gotten into. Believing in Father Boyle takes a lot of courage because it is different from others. My favorite story was when Mike Wallace came to the place and wanted to find information on Dolores Mission. He asked one kid why Father wouldn't turn the gang members into the police. The kid said, "God, I guess," which is all about believing. The kid believes in Father and in God to change his life.
Chapter 2: I believe this chapter is about determination. These people in gangs don't always want these lives. They are born into them and don't know what to do. Some create the determination within themselves to have a better life. My favorite story was about Carmen. She was a drug addict and a gang member. She was well known over the nation because she went to rehabs everywhere. She could never figure out how to fully solve the problem. She went to Father G and asked for help. She finally turned her life into something great. Carmen had the determination to keep trying and finnally make a change.
Chapter 3: This chapter is about compassion. The feeling that you get when you want another person to know that you care for them. These people have very few people that show compassion to them so it is a big deal. Gang members don't have many people pulling for them so when someone does, they love it. My favorite story was with Looney. Looney showed G his "straight A's" even though he only had one A. Father showed him love by saying what a great job he has been doing. The encouragement is what stood out to me.
Chapter 4: This chapter reflects being resilient. It is hard to stay strong especially when your life is not good. These gang members have a hard time with resilience because they have nothing to look forward to. Sometimes they don't even care if they are dead or alive. My favorite story was the one with George. He was getting baptized by Father and was very proud. Father later told George that his brother was killed. George showed resilience because he didn't rage or give up. George was hurt but he knew his life was going to be different.
Chapter 5: This chapter has a theme about patience with time. This section of the book gives examples of gang members that take a long time to finally change. It doesn't matter when you change if you do change. My favorite story was about Omar. Omar asked Father how many gang members he has buried at that time. Father told him it was 75 people and Omar finally realized what he had to do. Omar told Father right there that he has decided to change. It connected to me because we all need to change at some point in our lives.
Chapter 6: The theme of this chapter is being different and being bold. Gang members usually know they stand out from the regular crowd. They are usually quiet because no one will notice them. Sometimes in life, making yourself known is the best thing to do for you. It can give yourself confidence to do more than what you think. My favorite story was about Juan. It made me laugh because Juan sang at both of the masses. He was awful at singing but he didn't shy away. Even though Juan wasn't good at singing, it might've been great for him to have the confidence to do something else.
Chapter 7: This chapter is about joy and the excitement from things we like. The best way to connect with someone is to talk about something they love. Gang members usually stay quiet and never open up to others. They keep all of their emotions which is not good. My favorite story is about Father connecting with Moreno. Father wanted to form a better relationship with Moreno so he found something he loved and expanded on it. Moreno was happy talking about biology and how they were going to digest (dissect) a frog. Joy is such a huge part of life that can accomplish so many things.
Chapter 8: This chapter is all about success. Gang members usually don't find success, especially in things that are good. Their lives have been contorted to something unimaginable for others. They don't even know what it feels like to get a question right in class and have that joy in their bodies. My favorite story from this section was about Manny. He was in the Dolores Mission community and worked there. He became a father and wanted to be the best father. He was going to college and he helped build a building. One day, he was shot and killed. Even though he died, he still succeeded because of his work and the message he sent to others.
Chapter 9: The theme of this chapter is being selfless. It doesn't always have to be giving an object to another person. It can be giving your love and time. Sharing your experiences is priceless. The only way we have a good life is by doing it with the ones around us. My favorite story is about Louie. He was a man that just got out of jail and went to see Father G. Father said it was probably Louis' second stop. They both found this funny and they started laughing. This moment is something that is precious because it shows two men respecting and being friendly to each other. Life is about making the most out of every experience and this is a great example.