Same Kind of Different as Me is the true story of two men who form a friendship with the help of one amazing woman.
Denver and Ron were different. Denver grew up as a "modern day slave." He was raised as the child of a sharecropper, working for "the man", never making any money, never able to move out of sharecropping. After facing many terrible atrocities as he was growing up, Denver became a homeless man on the streets of Dallas. Ron was different. He grew up in the middle class. He was raised in Texas and even though his family wasn't wealthy, they were able to provide for him and send him to college. After growing up in the middle class, Ron ended up marrying well and eventually became a very wealthy art dealer.
These two men would likely not have met in life except for the work of one woman. Debbie, Ron's wife, was different. Instead of judging people by the color of their skin or the level of their class, Debbie saw the needs of people. She convinced her art dealer husband to step out of his comfort zone and minister to the homeless people in Dallas. She convinced her husband, Ron, to form a real friendship with Denver. At first, even Denver was suspicious of the friendship. But as their friendship grew, Ron and Denver were forced to face an even tougher reality. Debbie became sick with cancer. Ron and Denver friendship deepened as they walked through her sickness together.
I loved this story. Same Kind of Different as Me challenged me to think outside of my comfort zone. When I read Denver's account of sharecropping and the racism that he encountered, it made me think about teaching my children the lessons of respecting all people regardless of race. When Debbie challenged Ron to begin ministering to homeless people and begin interacting with people of a different class, it challenged me to move beyond my neighborhood and connect with people who may be needy, smelly, or hungry.
Same Kind of Different as Me made me laugh and cry. At one point, Denver tells Ron, "Folks at the mission thinks you and your wife is the CIA." When Debbie asks the homeless people their names and birthdays, they start thinking she is from the CIA. I had to smile at this. It reminded me of something my mom would do!! The first time I read this story, I was 9 months pregnant so I CRIED! I was so touched by the friendship that formed between Ron and Denver. I was so saddened by Debbie's diagnosis of cancer. Overall, I thought this was a very inspirational story, even if it was a tearjearker!
If I had any negative comments about the book, I would say there were a few theological differences and the writing wasn't necessarily "award winning" . However, the writing style, which switches back and forth between Denver and Ron, is an easy read. The few theological things that stood out to me were that they had visions from God in the book. I'm not a theologian but I've never personally experienced this. But overall it was an inspiring, challenging, enjoyable story to read.
Thomas Nelson provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.