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Friday, August 13, 2010

Book Review: “Same Kind of Different as Me” by Ron Hall & Denver Moore

I’m not usually a fan of novels - whether they’re based on a true story or not - simply because I’m busy like most everyone else, and I prefer to focus my limited reading time on titles that offer me compelling insight or a learning opportunity.

Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them TogetherSurprisingly, Same Kind of Different as Me delivered on both counts while also being a true-life account of both authors.

The tandem autobiographic story is set on the cusp of the pre-Civil Rights era, intertwining narrative threads from its two main characters.

The first is named Denver, an unskilled, homeless African-American who is both profoundly poor, yet profound in his insight into human nature. The other is Ron, a self-made wealthy Caucasian with a lucrative niche selling original artwork from the likes of Renoir and Matisse to the ultra-wealthy of East Texas.

Honestly, I was prepared not to like this book because it initially seemed to try too hard conjuring up a stark stereotypical contrast in the characters. For example, the authors took a page from Mark Twain and wrote the character of Denver in the stilted ebonics-laden voice made famous by the slave Jim in Huckleberry Finn. It seemed overly contrived.

Yet despite my bias against the book’s early racial strivings, the divergent ethnic vectors of Ron and Denver ultimately converged to create a wonderfully authentic story of enduring friendship and faith in the face of perfidy and pain.

The quote that still lingers with me birthed the book’s title and came from Denver where he said, “But I found out everybody's different, the same kind of different as me. We're all just regular folks walkin’ down the road God done set in front of us."

Our difference is our similarity – that’s a provocative, compelling truth.

Same Kind of Different as Me is peppered throughout with similar insights into its characters and story - insights that leaked out of the book into me as well.

I guess that’s why it’s a New York Times bestseller.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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