Sunday, August 4, 2019

Book Review: 'Same Kind of Different As Me' by Ron Hall & Denver Moore

✰✰✰½ If there were ever two men who were complete opposites, it would be Ron Hall and Denver Moore. Ron was white, wealthy, and married. Denver was black, poor, and had spent time in jail. Ron was an educated art dealer who despised the homeless. Denver was a modern-day slave who was as tough as they come.

Yet, somehow their paths crossed. They would have completely ignored each other if it weren’t for one thing…Ron Hall’s wife. Deborah Hall was full of unconditional love,  and she didn’t hesitate to reach out to people in need. She dedicated herself to serving others, and in the wake of discovering her husband’s infidelity, Deborah felt called to serve the homeless. Ron, feeling the call to be a better husband, agreed to help out.

Deborah recognized Denver as the poor, wise man from her dream, a man who would change the city. In order for the dream to come true, Deborah asked Ron to befriend Denver. The two get off to a rocky start, but God works in mysterious ways. With a little persistence, faith, and trust, a bond began to develop, but who will really be helped by the friendship? The answer may surprise you.

The Bottom Line: The book is written in the perspective of both men. The chapters alternate between Ron and Denver, with each man giving his version of the events. Each has a very distinct voice, and it's fascinating to read. Recommended for people who are interested in social issues including homelessness and volunteering. Also, recommended for readers who enjoy inspirational books about friendship and faith.

Book Club Notes: Overall, this was an enjoyable book to read. It was fascinating reading about the same events from the point of view of two very different people. General comments from the group included that this was a story that needed to be told. We learned about modern-day slavery and the issues the homeless face on a daily basis. Our favorite story from the book was when Denver talked about the fishing technique called "catch and release" and how some people apply that technique to friendship. Denver was indeed a wise man.

This was a good story worth reading about or watching the movie; however, the movie left a lot of our favorite scenes from the book out. Nonetheless, those who watched only the movie really liked it and were able to grasp all the major themes. As a group we liked the book just a little bit better than the movie though. On a scale from 1 – 5 with 5 being the highest, the book received an average of 4, while the movie received a 3.5.

To supplement this discussion we watched the following video featuring both Ron Hall and Denver Moore.  It illustrates their friendship and is definitely worth watching.

Details: Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent. Paperback published by W. Publishing Group in 2006. 272 p. ISBN: 978-0-8499-1910-7

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