Hall, Ron and Denver Moore. Same Kind of Different As Me. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2006.
This book is the story of two men from two very different backgrounds. Denver grew up as a sharecropper on a plantation. He ran away from the plantation and drifted from the South to the West and back to Texas. He never went to school, didn't know how to read, and didn't have a birth certificate or any family to speak of. Ron, on the other hand, worked his way up from a lower-middle class background to become an art dealer. He lived in a world that most of us can only dream of, selling paintings for multiple millions of dollars and living what he thought was the good life.
Ron and his wife, both nominally religious, begin attending group discussions on Sunday evenings and soon both accept Christ. Ron's wife, Deborah, decides that it is her mission to reach out to the homeless through a Union Gospel Mission. She and Ron begin by serving dinner there, and soon are very actively involved in the work. This is where they meet Denver, an ex-con who is given plenty of personal space by everyone he meets. Their lives become intertwined as they enter each other's worlds and learn lessons they might not have learned otherwise.
I enjoyed this story very much; in fact, I read the entire book in less than three hours. I liked that it was a story told from a Christian worldview without being a stereotypical Christian fiction story. The people in this story are very real, and their problems don't magically disappear at the end of each chapter. I was impressed that the author could create such a heart-warming and realistic-sounding story.
Then I looked at the cover and discovered that this book is non-fiction. This story is real. The people are real. The story is told by Ron and Denver themselves, and there are a few pages of pictures in the back of the book. These events were not created in the mind of an aspiring author; they were real events in the lives of two men and the people they came in contact with. These two men from very different worlds formed a lasting but unlikely friendship.
This is a great story. I would easily label this story a good "beach read," for those of you who prefer to bake in the sand as you flip through the pages, but this could also easily be a read-aloud in a classroom or a book to reference when discussing racial tension in the South. I appreciate the book's versitility and its appeal to a wide audience. In short, this book is worth it.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purposes of review.