Monday, February 9, 2015

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

What’s in a name? A neighborhood? A brother? A block?  These questions loom large for two young men, both named Wes Moore, born less than a year apart and raised in similar Baltimore neighborhoods.  Both fatherless (one through medical tragedy and one through the tragedy of abandonment), both raised by single mothers in tough circumstances, both eager to prove themselves, and both called to the streets - one is now serving a life sentence for murder and one is a Rhodes scholar.  That scholar set out to find out how and why their paths diverged so wildly - the result is part memoir and part journalistic inquiry.  The Other Wes Moore tells both of their stories chronologically from birth in three large acts, in vivid detail.  Readers looking for true-life stories about street life and the violence encountered there may find what they seek in The Other Wes Moore, though the action is tempered by introspection and the sophisticated language does not evoke the action-packed street books students may be craving. However, the book is practically tailor-made for book groups with backmatter that includes a reader’s guide, discussion questions, a hefty resource guide, and an afterword by Tavis Smiley. --Regan Schwartz

Moore, Wes. The Other Wes Moore. New York: Spiegel and Grau, 2010. Print.

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