Book Review - The Other Wes Moore

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two FatesThe Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was our book club selection this month and it generated a lot of discussion.

Author Wes Moore is a Rhodes Scholar with a lot of accomplishments. He hears about another Wes Moore who is around his age who is wanted in connection for a robbery/murder. About the same age, both were born in Baltimore. Author Wes is obsessed with Jail Wes (that's how we defined them for our discussion) and how he ended up down such a different life path despite their common attributes.

Author Wes mails Jail Wes in prison and the two begin a series of visits and Author Wes goes on to interview many of the people in Jail Wes' life. Told in four sections, the story touches on both of their lives at certain points in time.

Author Wes says, “The chilling truth is that his life could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his.”

I somewhat agree but I think there were significant differences between the two made it unlikely they would take each other's path. Both Fatherless, Author Wes had a positive male role model in his Grandfather. Jail Wes only had an older brother who was already in to dealing drugs and living the thug life. Author Wes' family had enough money (not without struggles) to put him through private school. He also had a Mother who said, "No more" and did something about it. Jail Wes' Mother said, "No more." then ignored the fact that Jail Wes' drug involvement continued. Finally, Author Wes made a choice to follow the hard road of the straight and narrow while Jail Wes couldn't move past the "easy" money of the drug trade.

This is a cautionary tale of children without two parents, families mired in poverty and a good argument for the legalization of recreational drugs.



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