The Other Wes Moore had caught my eye repeatedly for a number of years at my library before I finally picked it up to read myself. It is a personal tale of both inspiration and tragedy surrounding two men who share the same name and grow up in similar, challenging neighborhoods, but whose lives ultimately diverge, setting them on very different paths. Wes Moore (henceforth referred to as Wes 1) has just been announced as a Rhodes scholar, but when he views an article about himself in the local newspaper, he also notices a more tragic story in the very same issue: Another Wes Moore (Wes 2) has just been involved in the murder of a police officer. Wes 1, despite never having met Wes 2, begins to feel an inexplicable connection to the other Wes and proceeds to write to Wes 2 in prison. Wes 1's self-motivation, in spite of all of the obstacles, is especially uplifting to this reader, a self-confessed perennial underachiever. I admired the courage and openness of Wes2 and his family, granting interviews and sharing photos with Wes1, a virtual stranger whose sole connection to them is a shared first and last name, despite their obvious heartbreak surrounding the story. Wes 2's story is tragic, but I think the author, painting a picture of just how hopeless growing up in poverty-stricken areas can be, succeeds in evoking in the reader something perhaps just shy of sympathy, but far more charitable than downright condemnation.

ryner's rating:
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