Speak Its Name

Rated 5.00/5 based on 2 reviews
A new year at the University of Stancester, and Lydia Hawkins is trying to balance the demands of her studies with her responsibilities as an officer for the Christian Fellowship. Her mission: to keep all the Christians in her hall on the straight and narrow. And to ensure a certain secret stays very secret indeed. Speak Its Name explores what happens when faith, love and politics mix and explode. More
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About Kathleen Jowitt

Kathleen Jowitt writes contemporary literary fiction exploring themes of identity, redemption, integrity, and politics. Her work has been shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize and the Selfies Award, and her debut novel, Speak Its Name, was the first ever self-published book to receive a Betty Trask Award.

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Reviews of Speak Its Name by Kathleen Jowitt

SamanthaGay reviewed on March 29, 2022

Great character study showing the inherent challenges faced by someone who is raised in Christianity but must come to grips with being attracted to someone of the same gender. The struggle to reconcile faith and sexuality is real for more of us than anyone realizes. Lydia's faith remains strong as she finds others who understand and accept her. I would recommend this book to anyone who wonders if a faithful Christian can really be gay.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Stephanie Jane reviewed on Feb. 6, 2022

I'm making a special effort this year to actually read the stalwarts of my TBR list - those books which have remained listed for years, yet always seem to be overlooked at buying time in favour of shiny new titles. Speak Its Name is one such novel. I adored the previous Kathleen Jowitt book I read - A Spoke In The Wheel - back in 2018, yet it has taken nearly four years for me to pick up another of her works. Sometimes I really don't understand myself ... which, coincidentally, is one of the themes of Speak Its Name.

In her second year at university, Lydia begins to come to terms with the contradictions within herself. Although strictly raised as an Evangelical Christian, she is obviously aware that other interpretations of Christianity exist, yet her struggle is to find the place where she can be comfortable with herself and her beliefs without lots her faith. The late-1990s setting of Speak Its Name also expands to encompass the widespread disagreements across English universities at the time about the increasingly wide gap between faith teaching and secular teaching about equal opportunities. I loved how Jowitt managed to explore her ideas simultaneously through both Lydia's intensely personal predicament and through the arguments being had across the Stanchester University Campus. She gives readers access to a panoply of mostly Christian perspectives with diverse opinions and backgrounds prompting them.

Alongside the theological narrative is a wickedly accurate portrayal of student life which reminded me, I think, of Brand New Friend by Kate Vane. Lydia's slightly world-weary attitude to the administration and committees side of her life rang very true and the relationships within the student house on Alma Road felt so authentic. Each of the disparate characters have their own life decisions to make and the mixing pot makes for a wonderful novel. Speak Its Name, despite being ideologically a deep and thoughtful novel, is also an entertaining read with deft humour and a truly lovely romance. I'm kicking myself for having left this book unread for so long.
(reviewed 52 days after purchase)
sheim reviewed on July 7, 2021
(no rating)
I read this compulsively, holding the e-reader under my desk at work as if I were an eight-year-old with a new Nancy Drew book. The characters are beautifully drawn and the setting of the various overlapping student Christian fellowships rings true across generations.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)

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