by Ron Hall and Denver Moore,
W Publishing Group, 2006
One of my co-workers suggested this book to me, and loaned me her copy. She was uncertain of her own response (somewhat manipulated?), and wanted someone to discuss it with. What could I do but read it? :)
The story is told in alternating points of view: the homeless Denver Moore, and the wealthy Ron Hall. We learn about Denver's growing up on a sharecropping plantation, his escape from that life to one of homelessness and violence, and finally what happens when he encounters Ron and Debbie Hall at a mission to the homeless in San Antonio, Texas. We learn about Ron Hall's early life, his marriage to Deborah and their life together, his climb to prosperity, and his unlikely friendship with Denver. While Hall initially sees himself as Denver's benefactor, it turns out that the homeless man has much to teach him about friendship, love, and even faith. When Debbie is diagnosed with cancer, they all travel the valley of death together. Even as faith is tested and tried, friendship and affection are deepened.
At first I found this book quite easy to set aside in favour of other reading. The alternating points of view were disruptive, and the story read almost as fiction. But somewhere around its middle, and for reasons I can't define, the book came alive. From that point on, it was difficult to put down; I was held in its grip.
If you can get beyond the slow start, you'll be rewarded with a satisfying read. Did I feel as manipulated as my colleague? No. But I did come to feel more compassion for the disenfranchised, and a stirring to do something more, out of an authentic faith that expresses itself in love and service.