Rated Reads

Same Kind of Different as Me

by Ron Hall

Rated: Mild

by Ron Hall and Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent

This book is the story of two men: Ron Hall, who came from a lower-middle-class Texas upbringing and turned himself, by luck and the grace of God, into a millionaire art dealer; and Denver Moore, the product of Jim Crow laws and a Louisiana sharecropping upbringing, who was homeless in Fort Worth when Ron and his wife, Debbie, first met him. Debbie insisted that Ron reach out to Denver, and that reaching out eventually turned into a friendship, one that helped Ron make it through his wife’s cancer and eventual death. Because it’s basically their witness and testimony — look what God wrought in their lives — it’s heavily evangelical, and attempts to be Motivating and Inspiring, something which drags the story down.

The most inspiring person (obviously, since it’s their story about her and because she’s passed on) is Debbie, because of how she took the money Ron made and put it to use in their community and worked to make it a better place. It’s most likely because she has passed on that she became so deified: as a reader, you get the sense that even Ron wonders how a saint like Debbie would stick around with a sinner like him. Denver’s story was more interesting; there were times when I wished Ron would just get out of the way and let Denver tell his story.

Now, I suppose this is me being all hyper-critical: just because the writing wasn’t the most elegant, just because the story was a bit clichéd, should I take apart the beliefs of these two men? Because I do believe that they believe they were doing good by writing this book. But, that said: I never got what I was supposed to get out of their story. I think I was supposed to be Moved and Inspired, and it was all I could do to get to Interested. And, in the end, I felt like I feel in those tearjerker movies: manipulated. And that rankled me.

That said, there is good in this book. There’s a good story. There’s redemption and forgiveness and grace. I just didn’t feel it. But maybe you will.

Rated: Mild for instances of mild swearing.

— Reviewed by Melissa Fox

Melissa Madsen Fox's blogging career began in 2004 when she started Book Nut. Reading, reviewing and book blogging have taken over what's left of her life after being a stay-at-home mom to four rambunctious daughters and wife to a slightly- absent-minded professor of political science.

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  • Same Kind of Different as Me
  • by Ron Hall
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Nonfiction
  • Reviewer: