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5.0 out of 5 stars A moving story of a vocational journey, 2 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: No Love Here: A Priest's Journey (Paperback)
'No Love Here' is the gripping and moving story of one man's vocational journey. After his father fled County Sligo in 1923, facing reprisals for having fought for the Free State Army, Martin Gordon was born in the Govan tenements of Glasgow where his father had found work in the shipyards. Martin vividly describes growing up in the tenements in the 1930s, the sense of community but also the privations, and of the precariousness of life near the shipyards during Nazi bombing campaigns during the war. After the death of his mother from a botched abortion, Martin's father sends him to Ireland to be with relatives. Rural Ireland of the 1940s is drawn in precise detail: the rhythms of life on a farm, being part of a small community, the seasonal movement of people, superstitions and folklore. As a piece of social history these parts of Martin Gordon's story are fascinating.

At the heart of the book is a love story between Martin and a girl he meets locally, Joan. He and Joan become inseparable and their burgeoning relationship is told with great delicacy and feeling. Martin becomes attached not only to Joan but to her family, in particular Joan's mother. However, when he feels drawn to the priesthood he has to make a choice between his vocation and the girl he's grown to love. Martin describes his time in seminary as intellectually stimulating but lonely and lacking in many ways, not least in vocational support. With little to prepare him for the realities and practicalities of the priestly ministry, and with little fraternal guidance from his fellow priests, he struggles when placed in a parish.

Martin's time serving the Catholic community around Amwell Street in London - an area taking in Sadler's Wells and the Angel - in the early 1960s shows a society in transition as Fr Martin deals not only with weddings but also with women pregnant outside wedlock. Immersed in the life of the priest during this period he comes into contact with many different worlds, from the theatre world to football. Again, Martin's attention to detail vividly recreates the past as if it were present to the reader. This is also the most testing time as he confronts the emotional fallout of his decision for Joan and himself. Feeling that 'something was missing' and disillusioned with the number of priests he encounters who are addicted to alcohol and illicit sex, he leaves the priesthood for an uncertain future.

'No Love Here' refrains from passing comment on the Catholic Church except to record how it was as the author encountered at a certain historical period: Martin Gordon simply tells his story. The reader feels great sadness about the lack of support he received not only in seminary, with its inadequate training and preparation, or from his fellow priests but also from his parishioners. The book is remarkably free of bitterness for all that. Much of the bad that happens to Martin Gordon comes after his time in the priesthood, as he finds himself an honest man making his way in the world amongst dishonest business men. Indeed, what makes for such a moving book is how the earlier innocence of the young man, coming of age in a more innocent time and place, gives way to a understanding of what the world can do. But the author's hope and optimism makes 'No Love Here' a tale of how the human spirit can endure.

Self-published, the book is unpolished by the editorial hand but more true to the telling because of it. Martin Gordon has a story to tell and a gift for the telling. Part love story, part social history, 'No Love Here' is honest, raw at times, and well worth the read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars no love here, 4 Mar. 2013
This review is from: No Love Here: A Priest's Journey (Paperback)
An absolutely brilliant book, i just loved it. It is charming sad, funny and very evocative there is a beautiful poignancy running through it. Gordan not only creates pictures but smells too as you read each chapter!!!I loved the contrast between the city living and the time he spent in the West of Ireland which was wonderful reading, what a life and what a story it just had to be told !! I actually still wonder about poor Joan and feel so sad for her, i would have liked to know more of how life ended up for her but i suspect it was a wee bit of a cul de sac and may have been rather bleak. I will read it again at a later stage as when i like a book i race through it and i just loved this book. Well done Gordan you have really LIVED life and it so wonderful youve shared your story!!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Startling Title, 29 Feb. 2012
This review is from: No Love Here: A Priest's Journey (Paperback)
Knowing Martin and featuring in the book's photos I had a special interest in the long awaited book created with such focused attention and dedication, a story in itself. I was still startled by the title and as I read it became clear that it was a worthy and great title. I was impressed with the style; it is excellently written and full of delightful and unexpected pictures of an Ireland that was also mine. It is an easy read and one that will command your attention. For those who may have been more intimately connected with the inner life of the Catholic Church in any part of the world a resonance with all that is Church will come back to make you smile, shift uncomfortably and maybe haunt!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read., 7 Feb. 2012
As Martin Gordon takes you on the journey of his life you are engrossed in the people and places he describes with such passion. From the first chapter you can tell that each word is written from the heart. I would not hesitate in recommending this book to anyone.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No love here - A brilliant book!, 28 April 2012
This review is from: No Love Here: A Priest's Journey (Paperback)
No Love Here is a self revealing story of a young mans mixed emotions detailing a love for his child- hood girlfriend
which became embroiled with the pull of his beloved Catholic Church. Subsequently the Church won the day and as
the story unfolds it was obvious hearts were broken. After ordination it became apparent that this young communicator
and his celebrity admirers from within the sporting and entertainment world in London proved distastfull for his clerical live- in house colleagues, especially their prolonged silences during meals noteably at the Christmas dinners.
Farther Martin then became increasingly concerned that his Priestly vocation was weakening and the further demands of
celibacy and lonelyness didn't help despite his total commitment to the calling. His priestly colleagues were also a disappointment and their Bishops equally so, confirming that the Church as presently structured had no place for him.

The reader at this point is predicting that the young priest realizing that he has unwisely chosen the wrong love, will at first opportunity return to his first love Joan, who was still unattached . But nothing could prepair us for the highs and lows of the cruel world of business which awaited an educated honest yet excellent salesman.

A great book by any standard.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Glasgow to London and Vatican City - a true story, 7 Feb. 2012
This review is from: No Love Here: A Priest's Journey (Paperback)
Glasgow-born priest Martin Gordon, who celebrated his 80th birthday this year, has published a memoir about his life as Catholic chaplain to some of the biggest stars of stage and sport.

And about his deprived childhood on Clydeside during World War II when his mother died at the hands of back-street abortionists..

It is also a passionate call to the Catholic Church to allow priests to marry from a man who - although he was fulfilled by his priesthood - felt the loneliness of life without a partner.

His remarkable odyssey begins working as an office boy in a post war Govan engineering works and moves on to catching the Burns Laird line boat from the Broomielaw to Ireland where he worked as a farm hand in one of the loveliest parts of the western seaboard.

Martin reveals how he left behind the prospect of inheriting his relatives' farm in Co Sligo to enrol as a mature student for the priesthood in the African missions but ended up after his ordination working with the Pallottine Fathers in a busy parish in London's West End.

And how while there, he became lonely and disillusioned, finally quitting his clerical ministry and finding work as a print sales executive handling big money contracts for advertising posters and glossy magazines.

He then met and got married to his attractive Cork-born wife, Louise, with whom he had four children, including a boy, Andrew, who sadly died at birth, before losing his house and his job and ending up penniless and begging for financial help, which was not forthcoming from the Church. It's a gripping story which will touch your heart.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Throughly enjoyable read, 23 Jan. 2012
By 
P. Fogg - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: No Love Here: A Priest's Journey (Paperback)
Found this to be a lovely insightful story with many interesting points that opened my eyes to some very social aspects of growing up around the time of WWII and the daily impact that had on life in the North of England.
There are some wonderful stories about being a growing boy that I found made me laugh because I could relate to similar things having happened to me!
Martin Gordon has had a truly interesting life and it is wonderful to share his experience.
Definitely a recommended read!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read, 20 Feb. 2012
This review is from: No Love Here: A Priest's Journey (Paperback)
An incredible life story that reads like fiction. I found this to be a fascinating tale of human emotion and a rarely written account of the untold side of priesthood. It is also a wonderful account of unknown Scottish and Irish local history.
I immensely enjoyed the book. Martin Gordon has a wonderfully relaxed style of writing and I was drawn in further throughout the book; I couldn't wait to find out what happened next!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars review by Professor John McGurk, 24 Feb. 2012
This review is from: No Love Here: A Priest's Journey (Paperback)
Martin Gordon's autobiography is a truly inspiring read. Though titled "No Love Here" the story is full of love and Christian forgiveness. And, it is more, a veritable tract of the times when Catholicism is undergoing a new reformation including much debate on clerical celibacy and the loneliness of the un-married priest's journey. The style is candid, evocative, and will keep you reading to the final page.
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No Love Here: A Priest's Journey
No Love Here: A Priest's Journey by Martin Gordon (Paperback - 14 Oct. 2011)
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