I love this book also because even though the book was fictional it reflects real life. So many people today struggle for so many reasons and being told you are bad or disgusting when the opposite is true can be crushing. People are still worthy of love no matter what they do or how they live their lives, as Lydia learned and finally accepted. The people who love you are who matter.
Lisa at the Student Christian Movement was kind enough to send me a copy of this term’s Movement magazine, which includes a 10/10 review for Speak Its Name. The reviewer says:
Kathleen Jowitt conveys the issues of being a Christian student involved in Christian Societies well, and as I was reading it I felt that so many of the issues raised were issues that many Christian students who are active in various Christian Societies would face during their time at University.
This really was a fabulous book… Highly recommended for anyone who has ever been involved in student or local politics, has sat on a committee or has even the vaguest passing interest in how other faiths and denominations work in the 21st Century.
I’ve also had some pleasing news on a related front, but I’m going to keep quiet about that until confirmation appears online…
Reading Twitter this evening, I’ve become aware of an initiative called #AugustReviews, which encourages readers to go to Amazon and leave one review on one book that they’ve read. This post by Terry Tyler gives a comprehensive explanation of the why and wherefore (and this post by Rosie Amber gives a very thorough description of the how, and the how it doesn’t have to be as intimidating as one might think).
I’m ambivalent about Amazon myself. As a good trade unionist I try to avoid buying things on there (I live in Cambridge, not far from Heffers and a huge quantity of charity shops; I own a Kobo; generally this is fairly easy for me) but it’s an ill wind, etc, and Amazon has been very good for independent authors. Me included. And yes, we like reviews, and no, the book didn’t have to come from Amazon in the first place.
Mine is here (UK) and here (US) if you’re suddenly feeling the urge to leave a review of it. But I think I’d be behind this idea even if I didn’t have a horse in the race, and I’d encourage you to review any book you’ve enjoyed. At the very least it’ll cheer an author up.
I think it offers a unique entry into being queer in a Christian community, and I think it can help many people in their journey towards being comfortable with themselves
She questions whether it’s realistic for so few of my student characters to have jobs – and yes, it is indeed a UK thing. Of course, UK things have gone tits-up of late, with tuition fees heading north and interest rates on student loans stratospheric, and if I were starting from scratch today I would probably give a few more of my characters part-time work during term time. In fact:
Peter – probably, but he still has to find time to be a sacristan. What I might do would be to give Tanya an administrative assistant as well as a pastoral assistant, and make that Peter.
Georgia – definitely, though it’s possible that she’s also getting some paid music gigs – soloist for Stancester Choral Society oratorios, etc.
Will – no, still too rich to need a job.
Olly – yeah, why not?
Colette – no, when you’re doing a science you don’t have time to do much else.
Becky – yes, though where she finds the energy I don’t know.
Lydia – no, she’s always been discouraged from doing it at home, and has assumed that the rules for university are the same.
So there you go. What they do in the holidays is, of course, another matter – even Will probably does an internship or two – and the only one who definitely doesn’t have a summer job is Lydia.
Speak Its Name has been reviewed over at the Jesus in Love blog. Go for the review, stay for the art and the LGBT Christian history – it’s a fascinating place, sometimes provocative, always interesting.
This is an ideal read for anyone trying to make sense of Christian faith and being LGBTQ or being friends and family of LGBTQ people. The characters and setting feel real, and it’s so well-written with rich detail. It could be difficult for some readers to revisit a painful past, but others will find a kinship with Lydia and her group of friends.
The payment for the first month’s worth of sales of Speak Its Name came through today, so I’ve celebrated by upgrading this blog and getting rid of the adverts. Over the next week or so I’ll have a play around with the layout, too. Don’t panic if it all looks different.
I’ve had a lovely review from Gemma at The Accidental Book Reviewer. (Full disclosure: this is a paid service, and also Gemma is a friend – one of the lovely people I met through marrying into the Discworld fandom. I do not usually pay for book reviews, but this is a new venture for her and I wanted to support it.)
I’ve turned on the thingummy at Goodreads that allows you to ask me questions. I’m working my way through the defaults at the moment, but if there’s something you want to know about me, my writing or Speak Its Name, I’ll move your question to the head of the queue. (Goodreads won’t mind. It’s only a robot.) Or you can ask me here.
The picture, incidentally, is a few weeks old, and the sweet peas in it are now a good ten centimetres tall. Things move fast when you’re not watching them.