Shannan Martin Writers Often Writes Under Contract, But She Owns Her Book
Shannan Martin is a professional blogger. She’s originally from Ireland and lives in England now. What happens to her while she’s in England? That’s what you’ll learn about in her first book, Shannan’s Dream. But wait, there’s more… You’ll find out in this review.
In Dream, Shannan Martin combines her love of travel with an interesting take on the writing life. The book starts off as a journal kept by a young woman, Shannan, who expresses many opinions about how her life should be. However, all that changes when she meets up with her old college friend, Matt. The two became instant friends and spend much of their time together.
When they realize they have something in common, they part on bad terms: Dream for no reason, then for the right reasons. Soon, though, they realize that they’re both on a quest for personal happiness. Is it possible for two people with such contrasting views of life to become best friends? It seems so. Soon, the reader discovers that the friendship isn’t merely a fantasy between the two, but it’s a real, heartfelt relationship. In fact, it’s love that blossoms between them, making the book not just a travel guide or a dream dictionary – but also a coming-of-age story.
Martin’s debut novel is filled with beautiful scenes of Ireland that I’d love to visit – if only I lived in Ireland (and, let me mention, have!). The scenes are often breathtaking in their beauty and capture the uniqueness of this strange land. Martin captures Ireland’s awe-inspiring beauty in a way that most writers don’t. But it’s not just the scenery Martin brings to the reader that makes the book so successful. The language is also wonderfully rich and sophisticated.
This book reminds me of several other works. For one, I’m drawn to stories set in foreign places, particularly places like Extrasolar and, indeed, Dublin, the cultural center of Ireland. But, more than that, the book reminds me of other nations, including ours, through its detailed descriptions of how life is lived there.
Martin does a good job of describing Ireland’s culture. He does the same for the language. I particularly enjoyed how he described Fungus and Wormy. (I hesitate to call them worms; they’re a bit more literal than that.) I especially found the historical accounts interesting and charming.
The book has several recognizable strands. The scenes are beautifully described and vividly illustrated. The language is rich and charming. And yet, at the end of the book, there isn’t quite as much tension as at the beginning: There’s still some unknown mystery to be unraveled, and some unfinished business.
As a story, the book is charming and delightfully written. As an educational book, however, I think the author writes a bit too broadly and creates too many unanswerable questions. Still, I’m glad that I finished this book and look forward to reading more from the world’s best-selling author, Shannan Martin.
I found myself identifying with the narrator as she went along through her ordeals and triumphs – which were both very similar to my own. Her experience in the publishing world was very much like mine. My editor gave me the freedom to write about my life, my emotions, and my characters. She would say, “This is a really good scene,” or “That was an interesting scene,” or “That’s a beautiful transition.” But she never said, “That’s it!”
In one story, she describes the quiet, provincial life of a mother and daughter in the mid-nineties. Her descriptions of how they communicate and interact with each other to strike a chord with so many of us who also have experienced the pains and joys of family life. But then she includes a father who’s a much bigger presence in their lives. I didn’t know until later that his income had dwindled because he’d lost his job. His financial woes aren’t dealt with, either. The reader feels for him and wants to help him get back on his feet, but nothing happens.
Shannan Martin has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature more than once. And she understands the necessity and the art of winning awards. Her first novel, a cultural epic about the early years of California’s gay and lesbian movement, was eventually made into a feature documentary. And she’s just getting started. Her second novel, a coming-of-age story set in the junior-high years of America, will be her big break. Her future books are sure to be fantastic.
Overall, I love Shannan Martin’s novels. Her sense of humor keeps you reading. Her style is clear and easy to follow. Her characters are well drawn and her world-filled setting adds real spice to her tales. If you like fantasy romance, then Martin’s world of pirates, magicians, and forest maidens is a great ride.