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Falling Free: Rescued from the Life I Always Wanted

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  858 Ratings  ·  184 Reviews
“Shannan’s story feels at once familiar and spectacular, ordinary and exceptional. You will discover that at the same time her words make you squirm, you will wish you lived next door to her. You will want her wisdom and you will want her pickles.” —Jen Hatmaker (from the foreword)

Shannan Martin had the perfect life: a cute farmhouse on six rambling acres, a loving husband
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 20th 2016 by Thomas Nelson
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Community Reviews

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Ashley Taylor
Aug 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
In my opinion, one measure of a non-fiction book's quality is the extent to which it prompts me to examine my own life. (Actually, more and more I notice that I evaluate fiction books on this spectrum, too.) Earlier this year, I read and reviewed a book that made me reevaluate how I plan my days, weeks, and even my year. It helped me to grab hold of a better understanding of efficiency as it relates to life priorities. That was a good book.

Shannan Martin's Falling Free is also a good book, espe
Aug 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I was so pleasantly surprised by Falling Free. I enjoyed Shannan's blog and already knew some parts of her story, but I was blown away by this book. For starters, Shannan is a brilliant writer. She is not a blogger who writes or a speaker who writes, she is truly a WRITER. And beyond that, her life journey and her ways of rethinking God and our practice of Christ-following are challenging and thought-provoking in so many ways. I would easily rank this as my favorite book of the year, and wi ...more
April Pettefer
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really expected to like this book. I have read the rave reviews, and was looking forward to reading it. If the author had stuck to sharing her story, I would have found her book far more useful, inspiring, and enjoyable. However, I felt like the author made too many assumptions that everyone who shared her outer life before her move also shared her inner thoughts and motivations and should make the same changes she and her family have made. I felt like she spent too much time worrying about ex ...more
Colleen Smith
Aug 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shannan's words will hit you to the core of your heart, they will challenge you and also encourage you. You'll find yourself so engaged in the story of how God turned her life upside down that you'll not know whether to laugh, cry of allow the conviction of your heart to flow out. I couldn't stop once I started, I felt like Shannan was an old (0r new friend) that had invited me over for a coffee date and to share the nitty-gritty of life. Having been an avid-reader of her blog, I was especially ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
There are a lot of people out there who would like to be published writers. And many of those people actually succeed in writing and getting their book published. I think this was one book that should have been halted. What sounded like a great story, an interesting premise- a woman and her family who achieve their dream life on a farm and then end up in the city with all the accompanying city problems- ended up instead a long blog-like ramble. I could tell right away this woman writes a blog. ( ...more
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I started this book when it came out. And then our house flooded, and many book lives were lost. Then I joined her launch team for her new book and decided I better finish this one first. So I ordered another copy, and I have to say I am so glad I got interrupted because for many reasons, now was a much better time for me to read this than if I had gotten past the first four chapters a year ago.

I wish every single person of (the Christian) faith would read this and internalize it. And I wish eve
Mackenzie Ellis
Sep 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have been looking forward to this book for months! Ever since I started hearing rumors of Shannan writing a book, I knew it would be one I would want to have in my hands the minute it was released. From her instagram pictures and writing on her blog, Shannan has been challenging and inspiring me for years. This book was no exception. In fact, being able to understand the whole story about her unique experience of moving from her dream home into her very unlikely dream home and the ways God has ...more
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In Falling Free , Shannan Martin tells her story with vulnerability, honesty and humility. Many who grew up in conservative, Evangelical culture will relate to this book. We were taught the Gospel, studied the life of Jesus and then were instructed to live safe, steady lives that don't look much like what we see in the Bible leaving us wondering if there is something we are missing.

I think anyone who resonated with Crazy Love by Francis Chan will like this book. The great thing about Shannan
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've been following Shannan's family on social media, via her blog and even some mutual friends for a while. The base of her story wasn't new to me, but the insights about how her family and children all interacted and worked through the change was fresh. The most valuable and heartwarming parts of this book were the interactions she had with her children--I loved the story about Ruby giving away her barbies. For some reason that will stick with me and make the ground under my feet stronger. I t ...more
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is so elegantly written while baring the ugly of our sin-sick souls--a paradox I really dig. I suspect based on the last chapter that the author has a sense that this book (with its innocuous green cover and postmodern font) is going to Start Something Rad and I cannot wait to see our little altars around Dave Ramsey-Certified Financial Freedom come crumbling down. This book reaffirmed my view of social justice but reminded me that it's worthless as a philosophy and necessary as a life ...more
Ginger Newingham
I had no idea one book could change me and my life so much. Shannan's writing was deep, poetic, descriptive, and concise. Her topic and subject matter was compelling and convicting.

I know it's only January, but I have a feeling this book is in line for my favorite of 2017.
Cara Meredith
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am smitten with Shannan Martin's writing, story and general presence. This ain't no cheesy Christian memoir, y'all.
Meghan Armstrong
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: justice, 2017
I vacillated between 3 and 4 stars for this one. Shannan's story is powerful and convicting, and she is super funny. I laughed out loud at a few parts. The last couple chapters are really wonderful.

Every time I read a book that was born out of a blog, though, I have this same frustration--like, this book would have been so good if there had been some more heavy-handed editing. It seems like bloggers get a little bit of a free-pass, because they've been self-publishing for so long and have alread
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Any time it takes me two months to read a memoir, that's not a great sign. The concepts Martin discusses and is living out are to be applauded, but the (lack of) structure of this book made it hard for me to read. It meandered A LOT. Still, there are some notable quotes I will be chewing on for a while after.
Kay Stanley
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A stimulating read that challenges me to escape the bondage of the “things of this world” that distract me from “things that have meaning and purpose.”
Nancy DeValve
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian-living
I sometimes got hung up on the writing style, but the message is challenging and a great reminder to not get caught up in what our culture tells us is good, right, and normal. The book is a challenge to live in ways that challenge us and shake us up, but that allow us to be used by God where he wants us.

Shannan Martin's writing style is not my favorite. Often I wasn't really sure what she was getting at. For example, she is talking about how we need to be like the woman at the well, drop our wat
Laura Roth miller
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just a few pages in, I was questioning whether or not I wanted to continue. This book was going to step on my toes and open up my eyes to some hard truths about myself, but I forged on and it was well worth it. Yes, I was squirming the whole way through but I don't want to soon forget any of Shannan's (biblically based) words and insights. No, I want to do something about them. "The world we're in might choose to disengage and circle in, but we are not of that mindset. We will walk toward the pa ...more
Ashley (5171MilesBooks)
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Full review published here: https://5171milesbookblog.wordpress.c...

If I took one message from Falling Free by Shannan Martin, it is to wholeheartedly embrace the brokenness of humanity.  This book made me examine my own life, a key component for the Non-Fiction genre in my eyes.  It taught me things I haven’t considered before.  God’s plans for our lives could be well beyond our comfort zones, if we only relinquish a bit of our “control”.

“Aren’t we all looking for the same exact things, to be a
Nov 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shannan Martin, a blogger from Indiana, poignantly shares the story of her family's journey from comfort and the American Dream to living on "the wrong side of the tracks" in her first book, "Falling Free." The Martin family lived on a quiet, idealistic farm with their three children, but one day, they began to sense God calling them to leave it behind and pursue a greater adventure. They eventually sold their farm and moved to a city neighborhood that, at first glance, didn't offer much for the ...more
Jennifer L.
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thought I knew what to expect from this book because I had read quite a bit of Shannon's blog and listened to interviews from Shannon, but this book surprised me in all the best ways. The topics of this book are so in tune with my life right now. The thing is that as I thumbed through the chapter tiles, it all sounded like things I had already struggled through in my head (and in rough days of learning.) I didn't expect to be so challenged. I had to rethink some ideas that I thought I had alre ...more
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is definitely one of the best books I have read this year, and I could not recommend it more. But be warned: this book will mess with you. Like, really mess with you, in the most hard and beautiful way. There is just no way to read it with an open heart and not walk away changed somehow--whether it’s how you see your neighbor or the poor or the kid who just got out of jail, or how you view your bank account or your role in the Kingdom or your place at the table—this book captivates and insp ...more
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars

Let’s start with the downside. This book has a truckload of “always” and “never” statements. There are no questions. Only purported answers. She spends a lot of time conflating “this worked for me” with “God wants everyone to do the same.” I appreciate her pointing out the American church has a big ‘me first’ and prosperity gospel problem, but that doesn’t mean that her equally prescriptive, dogmatic theology is the solution.

Martin may have given up physical wealth and comfort, but she
Maureen Dynna
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As a long time blog reader of Shannan, I have eagerly anticipated the day when I could read this book. Her style is consistent with her blog writing, which thoroughly delights me.

Upon starting the book, I was faced with 2 approaches!

1. Read it all NOW!!
2. Savor each chapter

I opted to savor each chapter and worked my way through the book chewing on each morsel. I underlined and highlighted and "ah ha"-ed my way through the book, disappointed, but thoroughly satisfied when I came to the end.

She ha
Sarah Damaska
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can relate to Shannan in so many ways— in the ways she grew up and the desires she had in raising her family. I nodded along and agreed and stopped to think so many times as I turned pages. We believe the lie that we deserve a safer, better, quieter, dreamier life, but Shannan reminds us that God has called us to more. The upside down kingdom of Jesus is radical and crazier than anything we could imagine. And when we are brave enough to trust Him, He promises more than we could ever imagine. T ...more
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oh, my...this book! I've just barely finished reading the book and I realized I want to read it again. I loved the real life, everyday details that are the backbone for the book. Shannan Martin tells how her family let go of everything she thought they were supposed to be and embraced a new life where they truly have become the hands and feet of Jesus.
Throughout the book, there are tales of children, neighbors, church, jail, salsa, and love. This book has made me look deeply and honestly at mys
Courtney Oakes
Sep 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shannan Martin has wrecked me by her conviction of how God would perceive our lives as open vessels for His promptings-come what may. You don't have to "fall" like Shannan, in fact, knowing God you probably won't. He has his own plan for you, but Shannan's story prepares you to say "Here I am, Lord" in whatever capacity that may be. We are about to have our third baby any day now and EVERY TIME I try to say the words "this is it!", I am stopped dead in my tracks. After reading Shannan's book, I ...more
Aug 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have the privilege of being on the launch team for this book and got to read it prior to its upcoming release. Preorder this one, y'all. Shannan is honest, transparent, challenging, and so very alongside the reader. She is self aware about the fact that she is still in process as a Christian learning to engage the poor and marginalized, which helps the reader feel not alone in her potential lack of certainty about how to move forward. I'm a huge fan of this book and am certain it will minister ...more
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book has haunted me from the first day I discovered it. The back reads "Shannan Martin had the perfect life: a cute farmhouse on six rambling acres, a loving husband, three adorable kids, money, friends, a close-knit church -- safe, happy existence." Insert my name and it could be my story and just like God pulled the rug out from under her safe existence, I feel like he has done the same with me and my family.

I read it as though God were speaking to me as I dog-eared just about every other
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book changed my life by clarifying and reinforcing what Christ *really* says we must do--which actually isn't go to church, be chaste, and don't drink. It's seek out the low and needy (not just make peripheral visits). Give all (not just what you won't miss). Build community one invitation at a time. Let things go so you can gain more.

(I did sometimes wish for, along with the quirky, embellished proverbs, more just concrete story of what this all looks like in her life.)
Lisa Suit
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
This book. I'm not even sure how to accurately describe the beauty that is Falling Free! Shannan's writing is simultaneously so personal and funny and yet manages to get right to the heart of the gospel and lay bare all of our pre-conceived notions of what authentic Christian living looks like and what it should actually look like. This book tested my thoughts and beliefs on just about everything, and made me stronger for it. Could not recommend this book enough!
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“Afflicted with relentless humanity, we view the world with person-eyes, then project what we see onto the flawless creator of the universe, assuming he operates as we do. We trick ourselves into thinking God is just a holier version of us-- our brain, our worldview, none of the sinfulness. We forget that while we bear his image and harbor all his love, we can't comprehend the scope of eternal reality from our anthill vantage point. We say we trust God's will but feel so much better if we run ahead of him with our dustpan and broom, doing what we can to eliminate pain and minimize risk.” 1 likes
“Now, every day I am offered the gift of living in such a way that I get a taste of what it means to need him. Resting fully dependent in the palm of his hand, I realize the safety of staying small. I get to embrace the full shock value of the kingdom of God, and that is a real blessing. I get to be knocked around by the fallout of belonging to a life where I am wildly ill equipped to meet its demands. I am honored to experience an existence marked by dependence, where I submit to God's will for my life, even and especially when it defies my put-on, middle-class values.” 0 likes
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