MMA Book Review: “The Dreamer” by Douglas Geller

Douglas Geller to release fictional MMA book, “The Dreamer”, soon on Amazon. What follows is a review of the novel.

In a world where great fiction literature on the sport of mixed martial arts is few and far between, a new author has laced up the proverbial gloves to give the realm of MMA writing the ol’ college try. Like CM Punk, who makes his long-anticipated debut in the sport this weekend, Douglas Geller’s inauguration to the writing side of MMA provides a fresh take.

I had the privilege of having an advanced screening of Geller’s new novel, “The Dreamer”, before its scheduled release date, next Thursday, September 15. Before jumping into some of the book’s details, here are a few things to know about the author.

For nearly two decades now, the 23-year-old Geller has practiced the discipline of karate. As a result, his love for the sport has since translated over to MMA. Unfortunately, the New York native broke his ankle in training earlier this year; however, the bedrest led to a newfound dream of writing this book.

Photo credit: Douglas Geller.

Photo credit: Douglas Geller.

“The Dreamer” features Matt Schwartz, a young man abandoned by his parents and lost in the seemingly endless trials of living in foster care. As the novel progresses, he finds purpose in MMA, and his dreams quickly evolve to becoming the best fighter he can be, both inside the cage and for the relationships outside of it.

The first chapter throws readers right into a fight; not one of Schwartz’s, but rather his father, the champion of Noble Fighting Championship (the fictional equivalent of the UFC). Geller’s attention to the fine details of the fight game become evident quicker than a jab from Joanna Champion. Just as fast, though, come a pair of surprising twists, both within the opening chapter!

Not only is Matt Schwartz’s journey through the beginning stages of a mixed martial arts career compelling and realistic, but perhaps what may be most relatable to readers are the relationships he forms and builds upon throughout the book. Family matters will tug at your heartstrings, while Schwartz’s more intimate relationship with his girlfriend, Michelle, is sure to draw you in as well.

A question that potential readers considering to give this book a try might have is whether or not the descriptive “play-by-play” action is worthy of what they see in reality in the cage. The answer is a resounding yes. It is complex enough for those who follow MMA, yet the other elements of the book will keep those engaged whose fight moxy is not as strong.

In balancing the grind at the gym, relationships and uncertainty at home, and figuring out how to succeed in the cage, Schwartz’s story is motivating for anyone chasing their own dreams.

Similar to Schwartz, Geller has a few bumps in his early writing career with some typos I caught, but also like Schwartz, he has since worked hard at fine-tuning his finished product, and his dream stays alive. Despite any inefficiencies in syntax, the overall story-telling ability that the young author displayed is what stuck with me. Just as a fighter new to the sport benefits from the counsel of a well-versed coach, if Geller can partner with an experienced editor, his future in the trade looks very promising.

In fact, you can view him talking “The Dreamer” with MMA journalist James Lynch and his famous “The Parting Shot Podcast” interview show here. As Geller finishes off the promotional phase next week, readers are able to pre-order his book on Amazon with the full release taking place on September 15.