Between the Covers: Stories from My Bookcase

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Same Kind of Different as Me - Ron Hall & Denver Moore

The subtitle on the book cover goes: a modern-day slave, an international art dealer, and the unlikely woman who bound them together. Same Kind of Different As Me the story of Denver Moore, Ron Hall, and how Deborah Hall drew them together.

Denver grew up in a world of slavery. As a child, he had never been given the chance to go to school, or to learn to read or write. He has learned to love people, and to live on after losing them. His life was tied to the land that he didn't own, spending many hours baking under the sun to harvest cotton for the Man. He, and many others like him, received no salary. Instead, they received some provisions from the Man, or else had to 'borrow' from the store that the Man also owned. All their work was payment for debt that seemed to grow rather than diminish.

At around the same time, Ron was born to a middle-class family that owned a farm. He had grown up spending his summers at his granddaddy's farm; accompanying him when he takes his truck out to pick up black people interested to work. Where he lived, there was such a place called Nigger Town. He'd gone to school, finished college, served in the military, fallen in love and got married. He worked hard, and then he hit the jackpot.

Their lives were as different as oil and water, never to mix. 

Their story was told in two voices so in a way, you were hearing two perspectives on two stories that eventually merged into one. It was interesting, but I must admit too, that it was a bit dragging in the beginning.

So for me, the book really started to pick up at Chapter 22. There, we bear witness as a new friendship unfolds. One that is most unlikely. In all appearances, it hardly seemed genuine that one person would be so serious about another's offer of friendship. And it was also easy to doubt the other's real intentions for offering to be that friend. But they were both genuine, and real. Once they made the commitment to be friends, they caught on and never released each other.

Their story reminds us that we're not really all that different from each other. We need to stop thinking that other people won't accept us because we're different, we have our quirks, and so on. Drop your blinders. They also have their own insecurities, they have secrets, demons. But once you strip them of that, and take down yours, you'll find that you're all just the same. People. People who are just passing by. 

I had so many thoughts running through my head while reading this book. I thought about debt bondage and how it still exists in rural areas in the Philippines. About Deborah and her dedication to her faith. Her strength, to me, was shown in how she dealt with a cheating husband. It wasn't her passion and charity that struck me most, but her grace and determination to keep her family intact without becoming the poster girl for the suffering wife. 

Miss Debbie's visions again reminded me of what we witnessed while my grandma was battling death. She'd been talking about visitors, friends and relatives who were long gone. It seemed that they were her angels, come to take her home. 

The book is about faith too. Faith in oneself, in others, and in God. It was, thankfully, not that preachy. It doesn't push you to go to church or go volunteer, or anything like that. But it does prompt you to think about how you deal with the homeless, how you spend your money, and how you manifest whatever you faith you believe in. 

There were some elements near the end of the story that seemed out of place. Particularly what seemed to be an evil entity that was going to attack the two characters in their visit to Denver's sister's old place. I just didn't see the point, nor the relevance...

All in all though, it is a good read. In fact, I want to reread some parts of the book to lift some quotes to share with friends. 

I am thankful to Book Sneeze for sending me a copy of the book for this review. You not only provided me with 235 pages to read, but about as many insights to ponder. 


spinninglovelydays said...

Seems like a good read. Thanks for the great review! :)
Btw, was it set in the present or in an earlier time? The subtitle said "modern-day slave", but it's hard to imagine cotton plantation scenes like that still existing.

Jean said...

Hey, been wanting to write like this but can't seem to find the right words. Go Vera, counting on you to introduce me to more good books. :)

Vera said...

@Jean Sure thing :) We got a long list from you nga eh, will try to squeeze them in my reading list too. Dami pa nakapila. hehe.

@Ivy - Modern-day since 20th century na yun, 1930s-1960s yung youth ni Denver. Hard to imagine debt bondage in the land of the free...

Pinay Expat said...

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Vera said...

@Pinay Expat

Thanks for dropping by. When writing about the books I've read, I just let the thoughts flow. Sometimes I feel like they can be incoherent, but what the hey right? Just write! :)

As for xlinking, I sure would love to! But I have yet to build a page for my linkies. I'd definitely let you know once I'm ready to exchange linkies :)

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