As I’ve been reading more and more book blogs lately, I’ve come across a style that I like best. I first saw this format used by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, and have decided to use it for my book reviews from now on. I also want to say that I don’t claim to be especially good at writing reviews, and mine aren’t going to be particularly deep or literary, but since I enjoy knowing what my friends think of a book I thought you might too.
One Sentence Summary: The true story of a wealthy couple who become deeply involved with a homeless mission and the unlikely friendship that develops between them and one of its residents.
One Sentence Review: A challenging, heart-wrenching story that made me think about myself & my world, my faith & marriage, and want to be a better person.
Why I Read It: This month’s book club pick.
Long Review: The book intertwines the story of Ron and Debbie Hall, a couple who became wealthy through the profession of art dealing, and that of Denver Moore, who grew up as a sharecropper’s son in what amounts to modern-day slavery and eventually ends up on the streets of downtown Fort Worth. As Ron and Debbie grow wealthier, they also grow apart to the point where their marriage nearly crumbles. But after an incredible act of forgiveness and revitalization, they become closer than ever and throw themselves into volunteer work at the inner city homeless mission where they meet Denver. Although he is hardened and hostile, Debbie has a vision for him and doesn’t give up until they have forged a forever friendship.
There are so many themes running through this story: marriage, homelessness, prejudice, pain & suffering, forgiveness, and faith, and my heart was touched by each one. I think one of the main messages was how one person can make a difference when there is incredible faith. Because Debbie saw Denver through God’s eyes and looked past his scary external appearance, he was changed and so was the city.
I don’t think it’s possible to read this story and not be moved. Debbie’s forgiveness of Ron after his affair, her amazing dedication to her vision for the homeless population of Forth Worth, and her subsequent battle with cancer had me crying many times over. It made me ashamed of my own prejudice, and I spent a lot of time thinking about what I can do to reach out. It also made me appreciate my marriage even more and redouble my efforts not to take my husband for granted.
In the end, it’s just the story of a few people and how their lives were changed by each other. As Ron says, “Even with my $500 European-designer bifocals, I cannot see into a person’s heart to know his spiritual condition. All I can do is tell the jagged tale of my own spiritual journey and declare that my life has been the better for having followed Christ.”