11 Jul

What do you think? Just read On Canaan’s Side by Sebastian Barry then realised there was an earlier book featuring the same characters. Partly excited to read more about them, partly frustrated not to have read the first one first. Have you read the Ma books in order and if not has it made a difference? What was it like discovering the first one?



  1. theresa copestick July 11, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    hi personally i think they have to be read in order as she tells a story of herself from birth until present through the books. When i first discovered the first one i read it every available second, and in parts i actually had to put it down as it was just too sad. Every September the next one comes out and then i re-read them from the beginning to refamiliarise myself with the text.
    If you want the first ones you can get them for 1p on amazon (used) they are definitely worth reading just to show how resiliant a character Martha is and how she could easily have ended up on a completely differently path in life.

    • Sylvia Taylor July 12, 2012 at 8:09 am #

      I agree with your comment above. I recently finished reading the first book and have just purchased the next 3 books (which I will be reading in order). I think its important to read them in their chronological order so that you can get Martha’ full story in context. As I do not yet know the outcome of Martha’ tragic story, I really do so want there to be a happy ending for her.

  2. Anita Dennehy July 11, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    Must be read in order. I was given the first book and waited for each September for the next

  3. Leanne July 11, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    Yes I agree with Theresa, to get the full picture and appreciation of Martha I think you need to read the first book to understand her pain and reasoning

  4. emma July 11, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    I have read all the books in order when i finished the 5th book i went and started them again and i felt i picked up more of the little details the second time round like when sally was always picking at her hair looking for the lice. And im shure i will read all again when i have book 6. I have been amazed at your strenth through life go martha 😉

  5. craig ross wallbank July 13, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    of course we all read the “ciggies” book first,what do u take us all for,a collective bunch of morans? any saddo who took up reading “going up in the world” first, must be insesitive&ignorant to moral standards,& lack simple order& basic substance in thier selfish little world, not to grasp the obvious glaring fact that these books are closely bound together by a common,human thread, held strongly from the start,by the spirited little martha.
    If some unfortunates did happen to pick up half-way,then all is so obvious to seek out the early young martha, unless they are not interested,so who cares about them-not me anyway!
    Can we discuss a more significant topic,which i cant seem to get an answer for,that being,how many books,approxiamatly,has the “ma series” sold? i`m not interested in “advances” or wealth,i`m interested in People Numbers- have under a million people shared marthas stories,or over a million?
    Respect to publishers who dont like to brag,but for all marthas fans,shouldnt this info be in the public domain,and proudly so for martha? anyone else agree? or am i the weird lonely voice at the back(as usual)
    please dont meet this with silence, whoever,reply.
    reach me> c.r.wallbank@googlemail.com
    facebook > craig wallbank (accrington,lancs) xxx

  6. Jessica July 20, 2012 at 12:07 am #

    I actually read the second book first and then the first. I was so glad I did because at least I knew while reading the first book that you survived and I probably would not have bought the rest of the books if I had read ma he sold me for a few cigarettes first, it was horrifying. I did go back and read all of the books in order again and your first book still gets me every time x x I love your story, pity it was not fictional x x

  7. Philly August 2, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    I read the first three books, but could’nt find the fourth one so I bought the fifth and read it, did’nt make an ounce of difference, cos I felt Martha was part of my life. So at the minute I’m trying to stretch the last few pages of the fourth book so as I wont be missing Martha, can’t wait for sixth one x

  8. Moli Scally August 18, 2012 at 12:48 am #

    I am reading her 4th book, you must read from her first book in order to understand her

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