UCLA Common Book 2012-2013: The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

Family Support

Check-out this video interview of both men's mothers, Joy and Mary, and this recent NPR series about single mothers and poverty and consider the roles Joy and Mary assumed in their families.

How did they approach/react to single motherhood?


What are some of the similairities and differences?

Both mothers (Mary and Joy) watched their sons fall into a downward spiral of negative behavior and lifestyle (lies, skipping school). Did their choice of reponse make a difference? What about their sacrifices?

Can we only blame ourselves for our mistakes, or do our parents have responsibility for our choices?

Thanks to...

Jahan Mahdi, intern from Valdosta State University's Master of Library and Information Science program, for creating this page, with assistance from La Loria Konata, Coordinator of Student Services, and Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh, Sociology Librarian.

Discussion Questions

The book begins with a discussion of both men's fathers. What role do you think fatherhood plays in the lives of these men? How does the absence of a father and the different reasons for their absences affect them?

Both Wes's are given warnings (after an encouter with police/advice from Tony) about their behavior and its subsequent path. When do they face second chances? How are these different from last chances?

"The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his." To what extent do you think this is true? What, ultimately, prevented their stories from being interchangable?