A quick read, Discovering Wes Moore packs a powerful message. Wes Moore writes his story in a beautifully constructed conversational tone that is appealing – speaking directly to the hearts of his readers. His message that no one is alone, that our environment and our choices shape us, is spot on. However, he realizes and emphasizes that regardless of the circumstances of their lives, each and every person is ultimately responsible for their actions.
The focus of the book is an examination of his own life story, but the reason Mr. Moore felt compelled to examine his life in this way was his discovery of another man named Wes Moore. Although the other Wes Moore’s life parallels the author’s in so many ways, the other Wes Moore is currently serving life without parole for killing an off-duty police officer. Author Wes Moore, while from the same area of Baltimore as the other Wes Moore, grew up on the rough streets of the Bronx, served in the U.S. Army, graduated from Johns Hopkins University, and is a Rhodes Scholar.
What was the difference in the lives of the two Wes Moores that put their lives on such completely different paths? This question haunts the author and through his research to find the answer, Moore discovers “the chilling truth that Wes’s story could have been mine; the tragedy is that my story could have been his.”
There were so many powerful passages in this book, so many pieces of wisdom that everyone needs to understand regardless of age or circumstances. Moore emphasizes that expectations and education may make a difference and matter, but understands that the ultimate responsibility for one’s life rests with the individual. The trailer featured below is actually for the adult version of the book, The Other Wes Moore, but works for the young adult version that is available in our library.
I was so intrigued with Mr. Moore’s story and his style of sharing it, I wanted to learn more. This video of a speech Mr. Moore gave at the Brooklyn Public Library while on tour for the adult version of the book reveals his desire to understand and to make a difference. It is well worth the thirty minutes to watch and listen, but don’t let this be your only exposure to what Mr. Moore has to say. Read his book.
Author: Wes Moore
Themes: identity, being true to yourself, choices, responsibility
AR BL: 6.0
AR Points: 6.0
Alerts: Inner city social issues (violence, drugs, crime, teen pregnancy – all presented in an appropriate manner for adolescents), occasional swearing, use of the “n” word
Very Highly Recommended: 5th Grade and Up; I also recommend the adult version of the book, The Other Wes Moore, for New Hope alumni, parents, administration, faculty, and staff.