Thursday, March 31, 2011

Review – The Other Wes Moore: The Story of One Name and Two Fates by Wes Moore

Two kids with the same name were born blocks apart in the same decaying city within a few years of each other. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, army officer, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison. Here is the story of two boys and the journey of a generation. 
– From book homepage theotherwestmoore.com
I heard about this book when it was being discussed on a number of talk shows.  I thought it sounded interesting and added it to my To Be Read list.  I honestly forgot about it for awhile as I do with most books I add to that list, but then a few things happened that brought it back to my attention.  Before I talk about what brought it back to my attention I want to talk about why it was of interest for me.

Like Wes Moore I know there is someone out there with my same name, who lives in the same area I live in.  Unlike Wes Moore, I’ve known about her since I was about 9 years old.  They brought her file into the room I was in at the doctors and quickly realized that they had two patents with the same first, middle and last names.  Growing up, more so as a teen and now as an adult, I’ve “bumped” into her.  At stores, the library and other locations where they’ll look up your information if you don’t have your discount card or pass to sign in.  It was this connection that had me take interest in the book and add it to my list.

What brought the book back to my attention first was a conversation I had with my mom.  She had talked to my cousin on the phone earlier that day and my cousin told her that a co-worker (who knows my family) had asked her how old I was, when questioned he showed her the police blotter in the paper that reported that Amelia Rodriguez had been arrested for shoplifting.  I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been waiting for something like this to happen, that she would get in trouble.  This time I added the book to my holds list at the library, which is one step closer to me reading it than the book just being on my To Be Read list.

The second thing that brought me back to the book was the list of author events at one of my local Barnes and Noble and saw that Wes Moore would be coming. So this seemed like a great opportunity to do just that, so I read the book and rather quickly too. 
“Wes won­dered how two young men from the same city, who were around the same age, and even shared a name, could arrive at two com­pletely dif­fer­ent des­tinies.” – http://theotherwesmoore.com/about-the-author/
The book discusses their lives and the choices made by family members and the choices they made themselves which lead them to where they are now.  I’ve read some other reviews and quite a few people have started reading the book with the idea that the differences would out weight the similarities of these two men and in truth they really weren’t that different. The story really highlights how sometimes the course of your life is changed by only a few choices.

I question sometimes how my life would have been different had my parents not made the decision to move out of the city before I started school or if my father hadn’t of passed away when I was 16.  Would I have my masters degree in a field I think is perfect for me or would I be doing something completely different with my life. I have always wondered how my life differs or is the same to the other Amelia and what choices her parent(s) have made have changed/influenced the direction of her life.

Author Event Update:
Wes gave a great talk and it was a really interesting Q&A session.  When it was my turn to get my book signed I got to talk with him and he seemed to really listen and take in what Mom and I were saying about our relationship to the book and the story and how we feel about the importance of the book’s message.  

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