Best-selling author of "The Other Wes Moore" speaks at Adams State Oct. 24

(10-22-2014)

"Did the 'other' Wes Moore read the book, and what does he think about it?" is one question Adams State University students may have for New York Times bestseller author Wes Moore, who will be on campus Friday, Oct. 24, to discuss his book, The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates.

All campus and community members are invited to the free event, which begins at 6 p.m. in Carson Auditorium, Student Union Building (First & Monterey). A reception and book signing will follow the presentation at 7:30 p.m. in Adams State's Nielsen Library on First St.

Students gathered in the library Tuesday evening to discuss the book, which was chosen for the university's Common Reading Experience this year. The discussion touched on several themes, including personal responsibility, the influence of one's environment, the value of education, and destiny.

Amazon.com summarizes the book as follows: "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. . . How, then, did one grow up 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? . . . The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a hostile world."

Many students could relate to the story of the two Weses. A freshman from San Diego, Racquel Mobley said, "I know a lot of people with the same stories. I grew up in kind of the suburbs of the ghetto. But I rose above it, because of the support of my family and friends. I have another friend who's in jail. It's all about the kind of choices we make."

Sophomore business administration major Valita Daniels also sees her experience reflected in the book. "That was me - self-destructive, rebellious. Here I am, at 48, in college, doing what I should have done then. The book was also inspiring for me as a single mom. You don't always know if you're making the right choices."

Freshman Preston J. Williams shared his impression of the "other" Wes Moore, who was sentenced to life in prison: "He gave up way too soon. He could have been stronger. He went for the drugs, the fast cash. If he'd had long term goals, he would have been more willing to stay with the change. He made a bad choice, and he lied. He lied through the whole book."

Nielsen Library Director Carol Smith, who heads the Common Reading Experience committee, explained the program chooses one book each year for the whole campus and community to read together and discuss. "That's what the intellectual experience is all about. We take a multidisciplinary approach and consider different themes in different classes from different perspectives throughout the year."

Cathy Heaton, instructor of developmental reading and writing, said her students have been really involved in book and are completing a variety of projects in conjunction with it. Additional Common Reading Experience events will be scheduled through the academic year.

By Julie Waechter