Review: Pen & Ink

Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind ThemPen & Ink by Isaac Fitzgerald | Website | and Wendy MacNanghton | Website | Twitter |

Illustrated by Cheryl Strayed | Website |

Publisher/Year: Bloomsbury | October 7th, 2014

Pages: 144

Series: Stand-Alone

Genre: Non-Fiction

Format: Hardback

Source: Cincinnati Library

Amazon | Goodreads

Summary (From Goodreads)

Every tattoo tells a story, whether the ink is meaningful or the result of a misguided decision made at the age of fourteen, representative of the wearer’s true self or the accidental consequence of a bender. These most permanent and intimate of body adornments are hidden by pants legs and shirttails, emblazoned on knuckles, or tucked inside mouths. They are battle scars and beauty marks, totems and mementos.

First Off…

I have a fascination with tattoos, even though I don’t have any.  My biggest reason is because I haven’t come up with anything I want on my skin forever.  But I love hearing the stories behind why people got the tattoo they picked.  I watch all the reality shows that center around it because I think the story that drives people to be marked outwardly to show the hidden markings is special.  That’s why I got this book.


It was a really quick read.  Each story is one page with a drawing of the tattoo on the opposite page.  The great thing about the pictures is that they are artistic renderings of the tattoo and location.  There’s a good variety of styles and stories in the book that makes it a very interesting read.  There were so many good stories too, I’m not sure which was my favorite.  I thought one of the stories of two writers that got married was good, I also liked the dinosaur tattoo.  And the reason for the bunny tattoo was interesting as well.  Most of the tattoos in the book I would never consider getting, but they all fit the story and the person that got them, and I guess that’s the point.

10 Second Summery:

  1. Great art work: The way the tattoos are drawn really capture the artwork of them. better than a picture would.
  2. Good story telling:  The stories may be only a page or less, but tied with the tattoos, they speak infinitely more than a page can hold.
  3. Conversation starter:  If you like having something around to start conversation with guests, this would be a good one to have around.

Check the Shelf2

It’s the kind of book you can flip through over and over.  Personally, It’s a borrow, but if you’re a coffee table book kind of person, this one should definitely be on it.

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