I have been swamped! I can’t seem to keep up! Uuuuuuugh. I had finished Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hill and Denver Moore a week and a half ago but haven’t had time to post about it. Same Kind of Different as Me is a true story told from the perspectives of the two authors. The first author, Denver Moore, is an underprivileged African-American contemporary slave. The other, Ron Hall, is an affluent Caucasian art dealer. Their paths cross one day when Ron’s wife, Deborah, decides to volunteer at a local Christian shelter. At first, Denver resists their help while Ron struggles with adjusting to his wife’s new endeavor which she dragged him into.
I enjoyed the structure of the book. They each take turns telling their lives intermittently. The book starts with the beginning of Denver’s story. In the next chapter, Ron tells his and so on…There is so much about this book that I love. While it is not my intention to minimize the severity of modern day slavery, I will say that I appreciated Denver elucidating his audience. I’m sure I am not the only person out in modern American society that had no clue that slavery still exists in this country. Thankfully, it is no longer prevalent and it is significantly less violent but it is still slavery nonetheless. Slavery by way of debt to “The Man”; a debt that has no actual bookkeeping to account for or an end in sight. As soon as I read about this in the book, I was hooked. I couldn’t believe this was something I didn’t know could still exist or much less that it STILL exists.
“It was at Starbucks that I learned about twentieth-century slavery. Not the slavery of auction blocks, of young blacks led away in ropes and chains. Instead, it was a slavery of debt-bondage, poverty, ignorance, and exploitation. A slavery in which the Man, of whom Denver’s “Man” was only one of among many, held all the cards and dealt them mostly from the bottom of the deck, the way his daddy had taught him, and his grandaddy before that…After state lawmakers promised to try to be good, planters and the people they once owned tried a new arrangement: sharecropping. That turned out to be a devil’s bargain. Not only did sharecropping spawn poverty and hopelessness among both blacks and poor whites, it also opened up an ugly, festering crack in the plantation of the South into which people like Denver Moore fell, some forever. That fissure ran through Red River Parish, where Denver’s Man was a shrewd dealer. Not wanting to lose his labor supply, he kept the aces to himself. He dealt the card of meager sustenance but withheld the card of American progress. He dealt the card of backbreaking labor but withheld the card of education – the get-out-of-jail-free card that would have liberated men like Denver. In the twentieth century, slaves were free to leave the plantation, but their debt and lack of education kept them shackled to the Man.”
Denver’s voice in the book is gentle and his stories about his upbringing and life, in general, are heartbreaking. Ron’s biography is one of an all-American white middle-class kid who grows up striving to make it big. And he does! He makes it big. Two very different stories. Two very different men, united by the compassion and kindhearted Deborah. She’s all heart but she’s tough! And she always gets her way. As usual, I don’t want to give too much away…but I will say that I highly recommend this book.
What I loved about this book were Denver’s storytelling abilities. He was so trusting and docious. I love that he took chances even though he had been conditioned not to question his life and to just stick to what he had been taught. I love that Denver eventually figured out how to fend for himself and paved his own path. I love that Deborah followed her faith and executed what she believed was God’s plan for her and Denver’s lives. I love that Ron was supportive of his wife’s vision for their futures and that he obliged her every desire. I especially love that Denver and Ron co-authored the book.
It’s about true friendships. It’s about truly seeing people for who they are and acknowledging them no matter their circumstances. It’s about putting all your faith, heart and longing into a benevolent God that will lead the way when you have no idea where you’re going. This book is entirely about seeing that no matter our income, social status, race, color, gender or sexual orientation, we are all intrinsically the same. We are all human.
I shed a few tears while reading this book; some of sadness but most of them were of joy. I gave this book a five (5) on Goodreads. I hope you get a chance to read it. It was magnificent.
P.S. – Need to log off now. Can’t keep my eyes open (yawn). Tomorrow I’ll post the other two that I finished last week. Have a great evening!!!