All I need to be entertained are cats within ear-scratching distance and a good book . . .OK, maybe that's not ALL I need, but it's a good start.

I love to read. And I love to get recommendations for books to read.

I started Cats and a Book to share the books I read with others. Some I love, some I don't, but you may love the ones I don't, so you're welcome to post your own comments and suggestions.

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Happy reading!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Same Kind of Different as Me, by Ron Hall

Same Kind of Different as Me is the story of two men, Ron Hall and Denver Moore, who meet in a Fort Worth food kitchen. Hall, a successful art dealer, and Moore, a former sharecropper, build an unlikely friendship that brings their two worlds together in an uneasy detente. To mirror these differences, each chapter is written from the perspective of Hall or Moore.

Early in Moore's story, he describes sharecropping this way:

"So you done worked all year and the Man ain't done nothin, but you still owe the Man. And wadn't nothin you could do but work his land for another year to pay off that debt. What it come down to was: The Man didn't just own the land. He owned you."

Hall described his early years like this:
" . . . I did not start out rich. I was raised in a lower-middle-class section of Fort Worth called Haltom City, a town so ugly that it was the only one in Texas with no picture postcard of itself for sale in the local pharmacy."

There are underlying themes to their friendship, as well: poverty and ignorance in rural Louisiana due at least in part to the sharecropper culture that thrived there at one time, the plight of homeless people in Fort Worth (or in any large city), adult illiteracy, religious beliefs--how they move some people to action or sustain them in times of grief, and cancer which strikes Hall's wife Deborah, a cruel disease that taunts with a clean bill of health followed by its malicious return.

There are moments of inspiration, indignation, and grief. There are times that one questions Hall's commitment to his faith or to Denver, whom he declares as his friend. And there are questions about the narrative. The anecdotes of visions and prescience are a little fantastic, but some readers may not be troubled by them.

Same Kind of Different as Me is a moving book with new perspectives to consider about the challenges facing those around us. Some may be apparent and some may not be. Moore summarizes his lesson this way:

"There's somethin I learned when I was homeless: Our limitation is God's opportunity. When you get all the way to the end of your rope and there ain't nothin you can do, that's when God takes over."

The book's website can be found here, and you can see Denver Moore's art here. Same Kind of Different as Me was published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. in 2006.

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