Woo!  And a poem at the end (of this post)!

Book:  "The Other Wes Moore" -- Wes Moore

Blurb From the Back:  "Two kids named Wes Moore were born blocks apart within a year of each other.  Both grew up fatherless in similar Baltimore neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods; both hung out on street corners with their crews; both ran into trouble with the police.  How, then, did one grow to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, White House Fellow and business leader, while the other ended up a convicted murderer serving a life sentence?"

Vote:  2 Yays, 1 Nay.  The Nay was mine.  The undertaking is really quite noble and Mr. Moore writes poignantly of his own life, his struggles, and the moments that started to shake up his paradigm and focus his attention elsewhere.  And while there's a vast amount of grace extended to the Other Wes Moore (sans judgement), it's also the other Wes Moore I felt was underdeveloped.  Granted, a person can only write about another person to a certain point, but I wanted to know more.  More Moore.  The situations were similar, but their lives had some fault lines that diverged fairly sharply.

One of the yays was from my dear, sweet friend who took her in-patient drug and alcohol recovery clients to a talk Wes Moore gave in Portland a few weeks ago.  She relayed that the talk was humbling -- the impact on the clients heartbreakingly stunning.  They left uplifted.  They left encouraged.  They left empowered.  Encouragement and empowerment can be pretty hard to come by.

So maybe I don't know everything. ;)

Next pick:  "The Help", Kathryn Stockett.  We've been waiting for this one to come out in paperback for a long time.

Now, The POEM!!

I've thought long and hard about sharing this, wondering about copyright laws and property rights and it's not my work  ....but I've read it so obsessively and so intimately in the past few days I think I may be addicted.  I repeat the lines to myself again and again ... I have no idea why I'm so enamored.

Actually, that's not true.  This poem is precisely, exactly, a perfect description of the moments I realized I wasn't having any more dark days after the divorce.

Galway Kinnell, 1980  
Crying only a little bit
is no use.  You must cry
until your pillow is soaked.
Then you can get up and laugh.
Then you can jump in the shower
and splash-splash-splash!
Then you can throw open your window
and , "Ha ha!  ha ha!"
And if people say, "Hey,
what's going on up there?"
"Ha ha!" sing back, "Happiness
was hiding in the last tear!
I wept it! Ha ha!"

(It's even better if you read it out loud.  I promise.) 

So splash-splash-splash, Mr. Kinnell.  I'm asking forgiveness rather than permission - thank you for these lines and that sneaky, sneaky near rhyme. You've always been one of my favorites (despite naming your poor child Fergus).


  1. - x x walk away on March 18, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    That sounds like a really qood book ! I always have a problem with relatinq with the characters due to the authour's choice of developinq them. Did you feel connected with the characters in this book ?

  2. Lisa on March 19, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    @ - x x walk away: Thanks for stopping by! It's a funny thing, right? Sometimes the characters you think you're going to relate to end up disappointing you and sometimes the characters you think are going to drive you crazy you end up empathizing with you. And I'm fully with you - a lot of the time I find myself thinking, "Well, that was an interesting choice the author just made." I don't know if I identified too much with the characters in this book - I'm almost reluctant to say due to the intersections of race, class and privilege! Late last year I read "All the Names" by Jose Saramago and I really found myself identifying with the main character in that one. What about you? What books do you find yourself identifying most with the characters?


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