Monday, September 19, 2011

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

SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME
By: Ron Hall and Denver Moore
with Lynn Vincent
Published: June 15, 2006
Non-Fiction

From the back of the book:
A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery. 
An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel. 
 A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream.
A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.

It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana....and an East Texas honky-tonk....and, without a doubt, in the heart of God.  It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda.....an upscale New York gallery.....a downtown dumpster.....a Texas ranch.  Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, it also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love. 

Incredible is just one way to describe this book.  Other ways to describe this memoir would be emotional, heart-wrenching, hopeful, gripping, and inspiring.  This was our book club pick for the month, but had been on my To-Read list ever since my Sister-in-law, Julie, told me about this book a year or so ago.  My Sister-in-law works at the Mission of Hope, a place for homeless people to go and feel loved by God, to get a meal, a prayer, or just a place to rest.  Their mission is to meet basic needs, change hearts, disciple people and teach the church.  No one is turned away.  For more on their services and needs visit Mission of Hope.  The needs there are great and the love is overflowing. 

So, as I read this book, I thought about Julie and her work a lot.  13 years ago, I also used to run a homeless shelter for women and children.  This story took me back to those days as well.  No matter where you live, there are homeless people.  They may be staying with families or friends or bouncing from house to house rather than living on park benches or under interstates, but they are homeless just the same. 

I was drawn into the story immediately.  The chapters are short and flip back and forth from Ron's, (the art dealer) story to Denver's (the homeless man).  The horrors of Denver's life were tough to read, but his strength and faith helped you move through each chapter, hoping for Ron and his wife Deborah to break his shell.  The marriage of Ron and Deborah also imparted lessons of faith and forgiveness that couldn't be ignored.

I became deeply emotional throughout the story and once I got into it, I could not put it down.  Thankfully, it was a quick read.  I appreciated the pictures included in the back of the book.  It put faces to names and gave photos of Denver's past life.  As a Christian, I wasn't shocked by the expressions of faith in the story as others might be.  But, I did find that I was moved and changed by Denver and Ron's story. 

I gave this 5 out of 5 stars.  I recommend this to Christians as well as non-believers, book clubs, church groups/Bible studies, and anyone looking for an inspirational life-story. 


1 comment:

Mama Bird said...

This is one of my very favorite books! It totally destroyed my prejudices of homeless people, and I now participate annually in Hope Ministires' Walk-a-thon. It's such an amazing event that inspires me SO MUCH.