Shannon’s Way Is All Downhill

Shannon’s Way is A. J. Cronin’s sequel to The Green Years. Robert Shannon, now an M.D., is working in a research lab, bitterly doing grunt work.

Robert gets kicked out of the lab for doing his own research instead of his assigned duties. He finds comfort and encouragement in Jean Law, an attractive medical student headed for the mission field, but religious differences separate them.

From there, it’s downhill.

Robert loses post after post because he can’t get along with his co-workers. All the while, he keeps at his research.

Eventually, beaten to publication by another researcher, Robert has a breakdown. Jean reappears bearing an offer of a research appointment abroad and declaring her love.

This plot is absurd.

The reason Robert wasn’t first was to publish his discovery was that he took time to develop a vaccine against the organism — something the first researcher didn’t do. Robert could still have published, made a bundle, and been able to afford to eat.

Trying to pass Robert Shannon off as a hero is nuts. He may be a brilliant medical researcher, but he has the emotional intelligence of a newt. Why anybody can stand the guy is beyond me.

Poor Jean.

She’s in for a miserable life.

Shannon’s Way
By A. J. Cronin
Little, Brown, 1948
172 pages
Bestseller # 8 for 1948
My Grade: C-
© 2007 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

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