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The book focuses on the story of two boys with identical names – Wes Moore. As kids they lived in the same crumbling city. One reached the top – Rhodes Scholar, honored veteran, White House fellow and a leading businessman. The other boy ended up in prison serving a sentence for life.

In the first chapter the author narrates his childhood; he was brought up by his hardworking parents who instilled discipline. The death of his father left a deep impression on him. As boys the two kids grew up ten blocks away from each other in a low-income locality. Both of them passed through difficult school days, but ultimately fate took them in opposite directions – one towards light and the other towards darkness. 

The book is very relevant for teenagers to understand how decisions taken during these years are vital for their future. It also points out that despite rough childhood years each can follow a distinctive path and carve out life to be successful or otherwise. The message from the book is powerful for both adults and youth. Above all, the reading is enjoyable while being inspiring at the same time.

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The book spans the lives of these two boys during the 80s and 90s showing how the nation is instrumental in either supporting its children or failing to do so. 

At times however the similarities do not sound realistic; the comparison seems shallow and forced upon the reader.

The most telling part of the book is that it leaves the reader asking more questions than getting answers. The author himself says he doesn’t know what shaped the differences. “…the answer is elusive. People are so wildly different and it’s hard to know when genetics or environment or just bad luck is decisive… I’ve become convinced that there are some clear and powerful measures that can be taken during this crucial time in a young person’s life”.

Code: Sample20

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