Falling Free is a memoir by Shannon Martin. Shannon makes a lot of valid criticisms about our Western middle-class Christianity which creates comfortable lives for ourselves but has little impact on those in need. Shannon and her husband were convicted about their excessive lifestyle and virtually became missionaries in their own country. They moved to a socially disadvantaged community and her husband took on a low paying job as a chaplain in a prison. Shannon goes to great lengthens to describe the culture shock she experienced.
The book is written around themes, rather than chronologically. I found this a bit confusing as it created overlap and seemed to jump back and forth between their old lifestyle and their current situation. I would have preferred a more sequential approach, so the progressive changes were clearer, but this may say more about my personality, than the book!
The tone of the book implied that Shannan expected everyone would come to the same realizations that she had and move to a depressed community. However, I was relieved to find on page 151 she wrote, “We don’t all have to move to the city, or move to the sticks. Hallelujah, there is no one-mission-fits-all. Heartbreak, loneliness, isolation and lack aren’t organized by zip code.” This hadn’t been clear up to this point.
Possibly the struggle I had with this book, was Shannon came from a very different background to me. She had grown up in a Christian cultural bubble in the USA. This wasn’t my experience and for this reason, I had trouble relating to her.
Overall, Shannon made valid points, but I found that her writing style difficult. It felt like she was trying too hard to convince me of the validity of life style choices.