Same Kind of Different as Me Summary and Study Guide

Denver Moore

Same Kind of Different as Me

  • 59-page comprehensive study guide
  • Features 67 chapter summaries and 5 sections of expert analysis
  • Written by a college professor with a Master's degree in English Literature
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Same Kind of Different as Me Summary and Study Guide

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 59-page guide for “Same Kind of Different as Me” by Denver Moore includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 67 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like Friendship and Racism.

Plot Summary

Same Kind of Different as Me (2006) is a memoir written by Denver Moore and Ron Hall, with the assistance of Lynn Vincent. Employing a first-person point of view that switches between Moore and Hall in its chapters, the book tells the radically-different life stories of the two men—Moore spent most of his adult years being homeless or in prison, while Hall was a high-end art dealer—and how they were brought together thanks to Hall’s wife Deborah. The last part of the book details Deborah’s battle with and subsequent death from cancer and how her legacy of Christian-inspired charity impacts her family, friends, and the homeless people she worked with.

The first part of the book covers the upbringing of Moore and Hall. Moore is born into a family of black sharecroppers in Red River Parish, Louisiana, in 1937. He is raised by his grandmother, but after her death in a house fire, winds up with his aunt and uncle. For almost thirty years he works as a sharecropper and experiences the institutional racism endemic in the Deep South at the time. No matter how hard he and his family work, they are perpetually in debt to “the Man,” who owns the plantation where they live and work. In addition, while changing a flat tire for a white woman on a country road when he is a teenager, Moore is attacked by three young white men on horses, who lasso him and drag him down the road. This event clouds his outlook on life, and Moore eventually hops on a passing freight train to find a better life elsewhere.

Hall is born in 1950 into a lower-middle class white family in Haltom City, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth. He grows up having to help manage his depressed, alcoholic father and often feels out of place in school. Hall spends the summers on his grandparents’ Texas farm and sees racism in action—without really recognizing what it is—thanks to the black farmhands his grandfather employs, and the segregation in Corsicana, the town nearest the farm. Hall begins college in East Texas before transferring to Texas Christian University, in Fort Worth, where he meets Deborah Short, his eventual wife.

After leaving Louisiana, Moore spends decades living on the streets due in part to the fact he never learned to read or write. He moves around the country—Dallas, Fort Worth, Los Angeles—and spends ten years in a Louisiana prison for trying to rob a city bus. After leaving prison, he returns to Fort Worth and becomes an increasingly angry and sometimes dangerous member of the homeless community. Slowly, he becomes involved with the Union Gospel Mission, a Christian-based homeless shelter, but remains isolated from the people around him.

After graduating college and marrying Deborah, Hall becomes a high-end art dealer who frequently travels around the world for his work. He is very successful and is enamored with the materialistic trappings money provides: a fancy mansion, sportscar, and a closet full of Armani suits. Deborah Hall, mother to their two children, is never taken with this lifestyle and is more interested in charity work.

Although the Halls were raised as mainstream Christians, in 1973 they join the burgeoning wave of evangelicalism sweeping the country and become “born again.” This gives an extra emphasis and focus to Deborah’s charity work. For his part, Hall becomes more and more caught up in his work and jet-setting lifestyle. They grow farther apart until Hall finds himself having a brief affair with an artist in California. While he secretly wishes for a divorce, his wife insists they go to counseling and eventually their marriage is repaired.

Several years later, Deborah is determined to become even more involved in her charity work. She decides to volunteer at the Union Gospel Mission and tells her husband on their first trip there that she had a dream about a wise man who would save the city. As the two of them are serving free meals that day, Deborah sees Moore and recognizes him as the man in her dream. After that, she’s determined for the two of them to befriend him.

At first, Hall has no interest in becoming friends with Moore, despite his wife’s insistence. Over time, though, he and Moore do strike up an unlikely friendship. In addition, and despite initially feeling as though he was doing all the good by showing Moore the things he’d never had in life, Hall realizes his new friend has even more to teach him about humility, charity, and being a good Christian.

During an annual checkup, Deborah is told she has an aggressive form of cancer. Her prognosis is dire, and after multiple surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy, she finally succumbs less than two years later. Throughout her battle, her faith is tested, and she becomes the focus of prayers by family, friends, and the homeless community who have come to love her.

Right up until Deborah’s death, both Hall and Moore hold out hope God will save her. After she dies, Hall loses faith in a God who will not save someone as good as his wife while Moore is convinced there must be a greater good she must have died for that none of them can see.

Slowly, Hall begins to piece his life back together with the help of Moore. At a banquet where Deborah is posthumously honored, and at guest sermons Moore begins to give, he starts to find his faith again. Hall decides he and Moore should write a book about their friendship and how Deborah brought them together. As part of the research for it, the two men travel to Louisiana to see where Moore grew up. Hall is horrified by the conditions there and is even more convinced of the significance of Deborah’s work to help homeless people regain their dignity.

The book concludes with Hall and Moore sitting in the front row at President George W. Bush’s second inauguration. Moore realizes despite all the differences which seem to exist between people based on race, class, and education, ultimately everyone is “homeless,” as this world is just a way station on the journey to the one final “home,” the destination awaiting every person after death.

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Chapters 1-17