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1-Page Summary of The Other Wes Moore
The author of this book, David James Moore, tells the story of two men named Wes Moore. One is himself and one is another man who shares his name but not much else. The other Wes Moore grew up in Baltimore and was involved in a murder that landed him in prison for life. However, the author only spent time with him after he got out of jail because they were writing a book together about their lives. They hope to inspire young people by showing them how even though they may have similar circumstances growing up, what happens next depends on whether or not you make positive choices.
In the first interlude, Wes and Moore discuss how their fathers’ absence shaped them. While Wes is bitter about his father’s absence in his life, Moore remembers all the good things that happened to him because of it. Chapter One starts when Nikki gets punched by her brother Wes and Joy yells at him for doing so. Joy immigrated to America from Jamaica when she was young and met Bill who later became her husband; however, he had a drug problem as well as abused her physically. Therefore, Joy left Bill with her daughter Nikki while she went on to meet Westley who was a radio journalist and graduated from Bard College. He also hosted his own public affairs program but one day after work he collapsed due to acute epiglottis which caused suffocation leading up to his death shortly afterwards. Although Wes and Shani are too young at the time of this event they understand what has happened while Nikki is devastated by this loss even more than before since now both of her parents have died leaving only herself, Wes, and Shani behind without any family members around except for each other along with their stepfathers/stepmothers whom they don’t consider real family members anyways since they aren’t blood relatives like how it should be according to tradition passed down through many generations back in Jamaica where families were typically large consisting of several siblings (both male & female) alongside their parents who would take care of each other throughout life until death eventually took one or more away whether naturally or prematurely due to an accident or illness etc…
The story switches to Wes’s family. His mother, Mary, was an undergraduate student at Johns Hopkins before the government cut her Pell grant and she had to drop out. His older half-brother, Tony, lives with his father and grandparents in the notorious Murphy Homes Projects. Wes feels protective of his mother as he doesn’t know where his own father is. When Wes is eight years old he meets Bernard for the first time on Mamie’s couch after a night of drinking when he has passed out.
Two years later, Mary and Wes have moved to a safer neighborhood in the Northeast Baltimore. Wes is playing football for one of the best rec football teams in the country, but his academic grades are poor. One day, he gets into a conflict with another kid from his neighborhood, and Woody urges him to stay calm. When that doesn’t work out well enough, Wes runs into his house and grabs a knife. The police are called, and both boys are put in handcuffs.
Meanwhile, Joy and the kids have moved in with her parents. They live in a neighborhood that has been impacted by the crack epidemic and increasing levels of gang violence. Her grandparents are strict but loving people who were teenagers when they immigrated to America from Jamaica. Both of them play an important role in their community as ministers.
Joy is concerned about her son, Moore, and whether he will be able to do well in public school. She sends him to Riverdale School for the Gifted, which was attended by John F. Kennedy. He’s one of the few black students there; however, he still feels alienated from his friends at home because they go to a different school and are teased for going to such a “white” school. As a result of this alienation, his grades suffer and Joy threatens military school if things don’t improve soon.