Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

March 3

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Waiting on Wednesday: A Doppelganger of the Same Name

by Ann-Katrina

Thanks to Jill at Breaking the Spine, I present another edition of Waiting on Wednesday…

Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I had a twin. Or, if not a twin, someone with the exact same name as me. What’s in a name, anyway? (Would a rose by any other name still smell as sweet?) And other times I wonder, is it really nature or nurture that determines our lot in life? (Strange things to wonder, I know, but sometimes I’m just a strange person.)

A name is immensely personal. Stop for a moment and think about how it makes you feel—physically—when someone says your name with love, with anger, with apathy. A name is the oldest possession you have. Now imagine that someone else has your exact name—something that should, it seems, be uniquely yours—wouldn’t you be interested in learning more about that person? I know I would.

It seems logical (at least to my mind) that a person with the same name would have the same life, the same personality, and in a sense, be the same person. But life isn’t always logical and that’s what makes it interesting. And that’s why I’m anxious to read The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore.

The Other Wes Moore

Two kids with the same name were born blocks apart in the same decaying city within a year of each other. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, army officer, White House Fellow, and business leader.  The other is serving a life sentence in prison.  Here is the story of two boys and the journey of a generation.
In December of 2000, the Baltimore Sun ran a small piece about Wes Moore, a local student who had just received a Rhodes Scholarship.  The same paper ran a huge story about four young men who had killed a police officer in a spectacularly botched armed robbery.  The police were still hunting for two of the suspects who had gone on the lam, a pair of brothers.  One of their names was Wes Moore.

Wes Moore, the Rhodes Scholar, became obsessed with the story of this man he’d never met but who shared much more than space in the same newspaper.  Both had grown up in similar neighborhoods and had had difficult childhoods.  After following the story of the robbery, the manhunt, and the trial to its conclusion, he finally he wrote a letter to the other Wes, now a convicted murderer serving a life sentence without possibility of parole.  His letter tentatively asked the questions that had been haunting Wes: Who are you?  Where did it go wrong for you?  How did this happen?

That letter led to a correspondence and deepening relationship that has lasted for several years.  Over dozens of letters and prison visits, Wes discovered that the other Wes had had a life not unlike his own:  they were both fatherless, were both in and out of school; they’d hung out on similar corners with similar crews, and had run into trouble with the police.  And they had both felt a desire for something better for themselves and their families—and the sense that something better was always just out of reach.  At each stage of their young lives, they came across similar moments of decision that would alter their fates.

Told in alternating dramatic narratives that take readers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of surprising redemption, The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a hostile world. 

The book is due out in April and can be pre-ordered from Amazon.

Comments on Waiting on Wednesday: A Doppelganger of the Same Name

  1. # Mary wrote on March 3, 2010 at 6:33 pm:

    I’ll watch for reviews on this!
    .-= Mary´s last blog ..Waiting On Wednesday – March 3 =-.

  2. # Lori wrote on March 3, 2010 at 6:43 pm:

    I hope that the book will be everything you hope it will be. Here’s mine.
    .-= Lori´s last blog ..Mailbox Monday (#7) =-.

  3. # Belle wrote on March 3, 2010 at 7:49 pm:

    This sounds like a very intriguing read. It’s particularly interesting how the author first discovered this other Wes Moore – to have both of them be mentioned in the paper on the same day! What are the odds of that?

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