Two boys, sharing the same name, are born around the same time in Baltimore a couple of blocks from each other. Both young men experience similar hardships in their early life: their fathers dying/abandoning them when they were young, single mothers, falling into the temptation of petty crime, and brushes with the law. After a momumental moment in their lives, one of them turns out to be a Rhodes scholar, veteran, and a John Hopkins graduate while the other serves a life sentence in prison for murder. The difference between their outcomes all hinged on a single choice. This is the story told in the novel, The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore.
The Other Wes Moore has a unique composition and way of unfurling the tidbits of information. The chapters alternate between past and present, the author and the other Wes Moore, and chronological points in the story. Some parts highlight the correspondence between the two men or show their journeys. The book deals with stereotypes of African American men and shows the circumstances they might face in childhood through the perspective of the author, an African American man himself. It centers around the themes of family, fate, and the impact of choices. We are all dealt cards in life, some better than others. Some people are born into strife and poverty while others are born into affluence and privilege. We may believe we are stuck in our circumstances, but the moral of this book is that the choices we make can drastically change our circumstances
I first read this book as assigned for an English class over the summer. I decided to begin during my flight to Orlando in the middle of summer vacation. Within reading the first chapter, I was hooked. The book beautifully describes the stories of the two Wes Moores, one inspiring and the other tragic, between chapters and elaborating on a concept I think more people should know. By the end of the plane ride, I already finished the book twice. If you like non-fiction, The Other Wes Moore is a must-read. If you aren’t the biggest fan of non-fiction, The Other Wes Moore might change your mind.
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