I’ve been promising to review the remainder of Martha Long’s books for several days now, but circumstances beyond my control have prevented me from taking the time to sit down and write everything I wanted to say about this fabulous series of books. I have already reviewed Martha’s first two books in the series. My Ma, He Sold Me For a Few Cigarettes can be found by clicking the preceding link. I also reviewed Martha’s second book Ma, I’m Gettin Meself a New Mammy, but unfortunately that review, along with several other of my posts have been lost to the abyss. They are unrecoverable and that is something I’m very distraught about. I can’t get them back no matter what I do. I have virtually restarted this blog from scratch after it was compromised by a hacker. I’m just glad I was able to salvage the original blog and some of the posts I had written. Anyway, that’s a story for another day.
I have decided in the interest of time and space-saving, to provide a brief synopsis of each subsequent book following the first book, Ma, he Sold Me For a Few Cigarettes. The synopses can be found by clicking THIS LINK. They are fairly brief and not too detailed in effort to prevent ruining the whole story for those who haven’t finished the books. Remember, the synopses do contain some spoilers, despite their brevity, so don’t click the link if you haven’t read any of the books and don’t want to learn about what happens in each book before you read it.
This review, I suppose, will not be a typical book review for a few reasons. In fact, it shouldn’t be called a “review” at all, but rather a “reaction.” First of all I decided to take a subjective, totally personally opinionated approach to this review, rather than providing an unbiased look at what you are getting into when you read the “Ma,” series. I am not ashamed to admit I am very biased when it comes to Martha Long. She is my favorite author hands-down. I admit that and refuse to apologize for it. I have many feelings and opinions on Martha’s life saga, and it is this I have chosen to discuss. I am also covering five books as opposed to only one. In attempt to prevent a novel coming out of this post, I am leaving the blow-by-blow descriptions to a minimum. So here it is…my review, my reaction, my response…whatever you want to call it.
In her incredible “Ma,” series, Martha Long provides the public with a look at her very unique, harrowing life experiences coming of age in Dublin, Ireland…a very sad and difficult life to say the least. Martha shares her story from the time she is three years of age and carries us, the readers, through her life experiences all the way up to her thirties. At least she is in her thirties when the sixth book in the series, Ma, I’ve Reached For The Moon an I’m Hittin The Stars ends. Hittin The Stars is not the end of Martha’s journey, though. Her seventh, and final, book in the series, to be titled Ma, Jackser’s Dyin Alone is due out in September of this year. I have no idea what kind of story this book holds, but I do know I have many unanswered questions and loose-ends I’m hoping she ties up. Martha has an exceptional gift for weaving a story that keeps you interested, never leaves you bored on any one subject or character, and always leaves you desperate to know more. She knows how to keep her audience and ensure they continue to read her books and buy them as they become available.
I’d like to take this time to discuss my thoughts on Martha Long as a human being. As anyone knows, there are just certain people one feels connected to. Drawn to. Like they have known each other their whole lives, or perhaps–if you believe in that sort of thing–knew each other in a past life. From the very first chapters of Martha’s first book I felt that kind of connection with Martha. She and I come from backgrounds as different as night and day, but there is something in her very spirit that I feel drawn to, connected to. I suppose that is my personal reason for becoming so emotionally invested in her remarkable books. One can’t help but feel desperately sad for her when things go wrong, and intensely protective of her when someone hurts her. Although she is a self-proclaimed private person, she has the God-given ability to draw you in and show you the inner depths of her soul. It is a unique ability and combination that isn’t seen in many memoirists.
The more you learn about Martha through reading her experiences, the more you wish you could reach out and step into the book, meet her, and become her new best friend–reminiscent of Mary Poppins when Mary, Bert, and the children stick their feet out and jump right into a sidewalk artist’s picture, finding themselves completely immersed in the world depicted in chalk drawing. In her sixth book, Ma, I’ve Reached For the Moon an I’m Hittin The Stars, Martha describes her thoughts on Leonardo DaVinci and how he painted. The way he was able to capture the essence of a person in his portraits. Always up to a bit of mischief, which is what is so endearing about this incredible woman, she also describes how she thinks Leonardo was able to get his portrait models to work for him. Her views on life, love, and art are so unique and adorable one can’t help but adore this mysteriously magical woman. It’s no wonder Ralph–the priest sworn to a life of celibacy–falls madly in love with her. She has it all. She’s beautiful, she’s intelligent, she’s seen it all and heard it all, giving her experience and wisdom far beyond that of her years. In short, she is a rare individual. The proverbial diamond in the rough. No, there are not many women in this world like Martha Long to be sure. It is in the very same way Leonardo DaVinci was able to depict the story and even the very soul of a person in his paintings, Martha is able to weave an intensely vivid, incredibly detailed story. She brings it to life in such a way you feel you are there with her as all these things she is describing are taking place. You almost feel you could reach out and hug her when something terrible happens. Or give her a gentle slap on the back when she gives you such a belly laugh she makes tears stream from your eyes. She is one of the most gifted storytellers I’ve yet to encounter in all my years of reading…I may be a young person, but I’ve read an insane amount of books.
Martha Long has many, many fans. I am but one humble fan in a sea of others who find her work as fascinating as I do. I would still like to take a moment and share exactly how important Martha is to me personally. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again, finding her book somewhat by accident back in December was one of the best things to happen to me. I was introduced to a person so inspirational, so incredible, I can’t imagine not knowing who she was just a few months ago. Martha and I are not what you would refer to as friends, yet I feel like we are. We have never met in person, yet I feel I’ve known her for years. I find her unquenchable thirst for life inspiring. Her never-give-up attitude leaves me in awe. The fact that she has suffered so much in her lifetime and is still able to look at life with a bowl-of-cherries style positive attitude astounds me. I’ve not been through even a quarter of the horrible things she’s endured and I find myself feeling sorry for myself quite frequently. It isn’t a trait I am proud of, but it is the truth, and I always try to keep it real.
I feel people are brought into our lives for a reason. Although the way they enter your life may vary drastically from person to person…whether you meet someone through a mutual friend, you meet a stranger off the street, or in the case of Martha, you “meet” them through reading the story of their life, I firmly believe these people are in our lives to make a necessary impact. They are brought into our lives at just the moment we need them. This is where I will get truly personal…
I discovered Martha’s books, and thus, Martha herself, at the exact time I needed to discover her. Reading her story has taught me how to endure life’s hardships and take them on with everything you have while maintaining your strength and dignity. When something terrible happens, you don’t let it defeat you, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and go at it again. Since reading Martha’s books, I have endured some of the hardest times of my 29 years of existence. I’ve been plagued with depression, illness, deaths of loved ones, and –most recently–a life-changing, career-ending injury. I honestly don’t think I could have gotten through a lot of these things as well as I have without the model of Martha’s own story to show me how these types of situations can be handled. It’s all about never giving up. If you do slip and give up, that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. My last post describes the injury I just suffered which has basically changed everything about my life. Martha Long has already provided me with inspiration to get through this just by telling her story…and she doesn’t even know any of these things have happened! It’s amazing what a person I’ve never even met has done for me. She has my gratitude, no doubt about it.
Through discovering Martha and her books, I was able to find her on Twitter. There we have had the opportunity to get to know each other in some small capacity, which is amazing. I’m so happy to have the opportunity to actually communicate with the very person who has provided me unknowingly with so much inspiration. Martha has affected me in other ways as well, though. Through a mutual admiration for Martha’s work, I’ve had the pleasure of “meeting” some incredible people on Twitter. Emily and Carolyn especially. I view you both as dear friends. Which brings me to Carolyn…
I already gushed about Carolyn and her amazing heart and compassionate spirit in my previous post…but if it weren’t for Martha Long, we would never have met. If it hadn’t been for Carolyn’s willingness to open up to me and let me come to her with my problems, acting as my “therapist” almost, I might not have been able to cope with all that has happened to me recently. She is so kind and loving, so generous to give of herself while she is going through so much in her own life. I only hope I am able to give back to her the support and help she has given me if she should ever need it.
Let me conclude by saying this…If you haven’t read Martha’s “Ma,” series, you really should consider doing so. If you are looking for something to read, her story is a powerful and extremely interesting one. It will not disappoint. She is one of the most talented, generous authors writing today and reading her books will provide you with a very powerful, amazing experience. Information for purchasing Martha’s books, as well as ways to connect with Martha via twitter and facebook can be found here:
Should you decide to make the investment, I do hope you will find her books as incredible and uplifting as I have.
**Up Next Time: My Trip To Dallas with Pictures…and an Update on the Injury and life-changing plans***