Same Kind of Different As Me is not the kind of book I usually pick up. I enjoy reading books too much by people whose life’s gift is to write and my reading time is too limited for me to to spend my reading time on a recounting of someone’s life experiences to simply satisfy my curiosity. (I hope that doesn’t sound too snobbish, but some of you know what I mean, right?) However, this book came highly recommended to me by Steady Eddie’s aunt and uncle, two of the most dedicated and servant-hearted Christians I know. My mother and I were at Sam’s Club several months ago, and I off-handedly suggest she buy it to read herself, since it came so highly recommended to me. 🙂 She bought it and promptly offered it to me with the remark that I’d read it before she would. That’s my mom. Well, a couple of months went by, and I finally picked it up after finishing something (I can’t remember what now) that had required a little bit of diligence for me to finish. I thought, this will be a quick read, and it won’t require much thought. I was right with both of these predictions, but what I didn’t know is that it would take me in emotionally as much as it did. As Kathleen Kelly’s mom once told one of her customers, “Read it with a box of Kleenex!” (Bonus points for anyone who knows to which book she was referring. 😉 )
As the cover of this book says, it’s about “a modern-day slave, an international art dealer, and the unlikely woman who bound them together.” That’s oversimplifying this story AND putting the emphasis in the wrong place, in my opinion. Simply put, Denver Moore is a black man who spent his childhood and the early part of his adult life as a sharecropper in Louisiana at a time when no one would tell an illiterate black man that times had changed just about everywhere but there. He was stuck in a system and had no idea that his life could be different, and when he finally escaped, he had no skills to make a life for himself. He became a criminal, then an ex-convict, and finally, a homeless man.
Enter Ron and Deborah Hall. Actually, enter Deborah Hall. Deborah was a woman of privilege. Married to an incredibly wealthy art dealer, she was never fully comfortable in her role as a lady of leisure with vehicles more expensive than most people’s houses. She also had an insatiable hunger to know God and grow closer to Him. This desire led her to volunteer at a homeless mission in downtown San Antonio, Texas, and in order to shore up a marriage that had been on the brink of utter destruction, her husband Ron went along for the ride. To say that when their paths crossed Denver Moore’s that it was a match made in heaven is obvious only in retrospect. At the time, neither Ron nor Denver thought so, but Deborah always knew there was something special about Denver Moore.
Lots of things happen in this story, not the least of which is that Deborah is diagnosed with and eventually dies of colon cancer. She is one of the heros (heroines?) in the story, but because of her legacy, Denver becomes the real hero.
If you want to be inspired, read this story. If you want to cry, read this story. If you want to be encouraged to never, ever, ever give up on someone, read this story. It’s truly beautiful.
I’m officially giving up some of my book snobbery, starting today. 🙂
Filed under: Adult Nonfiction |