The Other Wes Moore
The Pierce College Common Book for the 2013-2014 school year, The Other Wes Moore, exposes the striking similarities in human experiences as well as the minute differences that can change the path of someone’s life.
Author Wes Moore best describes the realization he had while learning more about a boy with the same name and remarkably-similar roots on the back cover of the memoir:
“The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his.”
Wes Moore experienced a fatherless childhood in destitute and drug-ridden neighborhoods. He had trouble with his academics, and in some of the glimpses into his childhood, it seemed as if he spent more time skipping school than attending it.
The story of the other boy by the name of Wes Moore was much the same. He, too, grew up in a single-parent household blocks away from the home of Wes Moore.
Their stories are so similar at times that it’s hard to distinguish between their voices. I found myself lost in the tragedies and successes of their young lives.
The other Wes Moore began to distinguish himself from the narrator as he became more involved in the increasingly prominent and addictive drug trade. While his job provided him with new Nike shoes and hip clothing, it would lead to his ultimate outfit—an orange prison jumpsuit at the Jessup Correctional Institution in Maryland.
The narrator’s childhood may have been fraught with dangerous distractions, but his time in military school changed his life. Within a couple of years, he went from being a struggling student to one of the top students of his class. He was able to rise above his past in hopes of a better future.
They’re both veterans, but one is a veteran of fighting for his country, while the other is a veteran of fighting for his drug territory.
Their fates seemed so intertwined from their birth, yet their adult lives are so different. It seems that a few well-placed mentors, friends and decisions made all of the difference.
I enjoyed the personal narratives and the ability of the writer to show the development of the characters throughout the memoir.
Though some of the personal experiences shared were horrible, the writing style and pace set by the author made it easy to read.
Wes Moore and Wes Moore may share a name and a beginning, but the ends of their stories are nearly opposite.
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