Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lynn Vincent
Genres: Memoir, Christianity
Maturity Level: 3 (content warning: n-word, cancer)
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It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana . . . and an East Texas honky-tonk . . . and, without a doubt, inside the heart of God. It unfolds at a Hollywood hacienda . . . an upscale New York gallery . . . a downtown dumpster . . . a Texas ranch.
Gritty with betrayal, pain, and brutality, it also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.
Ron Hall was (is?) a millionaire art dealer in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. When he began volunteering at a local homeless shelter he met and eventually became friends with Denver Moore, who had been homeless some thirty years after spending time in prison. They changed each other’s lives, and remain best friends.
So this book has two goals. The first is to cause you to see homelessness and homeless people in a different light, and it is absolutely successful in that. Denver will change the way you see homeless people forever, and hopefully Ron and his wife, Deborah, will inspire you to make a difference in their lives. The Union Gospel Mission in Fort Worth was forever changed by these three people and continues to thrive in its mission serving the homeless. I thought that I was sympathetic to the homeless and successfully saw them as humans, not statistics, but this book really opened my eyes even further. And it inspired me to do more than I am doing now.
The book’s second goal is to show how God is working in everything. How successful the book will be at that is probably going to depend on what you bring to the book. If you’re a Christian or person of faith, your beliefs will be reaffirmed. If you don’t believe in God, I don’t think this particular book is going to convince you.
I think the book is worth reading, even if religious things aren’t for you. What this book says about the homeless and cyclical poverty and racism from the eyes of a homeless man is so important. Especially if you live in or near an urban area with a large homeless population, I strongly encourage you to consider this book.
Content warning for cancer. I don’t usually explain my content warnings, but if you’ve had a loved one pass recently you probably shouldn’t read this while you’re grieving. It’s graphic, it’s intense.
This book was gut-wrenching but inspiring. I think I’m a better person than I was last week.