Same Kind of Different as Me Summary

Denver Moore

Same Kind of Different as Me

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Same Kind of Different as Me Summary

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Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together is a dual voiced autobiography by a pair of friends about their relationship fostered by the wife of one of them. Denver Moore is a poor, black, Louisiana-born, plantation worker beholden to the company store and living in a shack. He becomes homeless and drifts from place to place ultimately ending up in Texas. He is a spiritual man with a knack for surviving, be it on the streets or in prison. Ron Hall is an educated, native, white Texan raised in comfort, who has amassed a fortune in the field of international fine art. Their relationship unfolds in narrative written to reflect their own dialects. Their voices alternate approximately, but not totally, every other chapter. The encouragement of Ron’s wife, Deborah, brings the two men together before her premature death from cancer.

Ron and Deborah first meet as college students. After they marry, they struggle and choose to pay more attention to their faith. A friend invites them to a Bible study, and in time, they become Christians. Deborah decides the couple should give to others by working at a homeless shelter. Ron agrees to accompany Deborah, though she is more devoted to the work. Weekly volunteer sessions become more frequent, and this activity strengthens both their faith and their marriage. At the shelter, they encounter Denver, an unfriendly, bitter man whom, over time, they are able to soften and help strengthen his spirituality as well. Both men are searching for some sort of meaning in life. Their relationship deepens when Deborah is later diagnosed with the liver cancer that eventually claims her life.

Denver, for the early decades of his life, had been, essentially, a modern day slave. He had been in the sharecropping system and beholden to southern farmers. By the time Ron and Deborah met him, he had bettered his life a bit, albeit as a nomadic, homeless man. Not long after the trio met, Deborah received her cancer diagnosis. Denver prayed for her as she led him and Ron to grow in faith. As a result, the men became more like brothers than friends. Their relationship became a story Denver would often tell at the new mission and its chapel constructed to honor her memory, thus inspiring the same kind of faith in others that Deborah had inspired in him.

Deborah was, with only limited and brief exceptions, the only white woman with whom Denver had ever had a conversation. He had been apprehensive about interacting with her because during his teenage years, he had encountered a situation that led him into a dangerous incident. Denver had been walking along a road in front of the cotton plantation in Red River Parish, Louisiana, where he worked. He came upon a white woman standing by her car. They spoke only a few words, enough for Denver to realize she needed help changing a tire and for her to accept his offer of aid. While Denver was working on the tire, three white boys appeared on horses out of the nearby woods. Not wishing to look as though he were hiding, he stood up beside the car. The woman he was helping did not say anything. One of the boys tossed a rope around Denver’s neck calling it a lesson for him to learn. This was one of many things he had had to endure simply because of the time and place in which he lived.

The earliest stories in the text stem from Denver’s childhood in the South during the mid-1900s. Ron’s stories take place in Texas during the same time. Later, significant events take place at the Union Gospel Mission in Fort Worth. The story, by virtue of the differences between the main characters and how they were drawn together, is ripe with conflict. The hate and prejudice of society that if not officially sanctioned, certainly remained accepted, was overridden by friendship and mutual support between representatives of very different worlds. Initially, Ron judged Denver as a potentially dangerous man, whom he could not comfortably approach. With time, he got to know him better and realized there was intellect and potential kinship within him. In fact, Denver has a deeper insight into the ways of the world than does Ron. Denver, on the other hand, first viewed Ron and Deborah with trepidation. To him, they were privileged people volunteering at the mission either out of a sense of pity or through a desire to gain God’s favor. Ron learns much about life and the human condition through Denver’s advice, faith, and devotion to Ron—all of which outstrip what Ron had so far experienced in life. Deborah shows similar unbreakable faith even as her death is imminent. Further cementing the bond between the couple and Denver is Denver’s resolve to continue the good work of Deborah after her death. “When you get all the way to the end of your rope and there ain’t nothing you can do,” Denver says, “that’s when God takes over.”