Speak Its Name
Lydia is part of the Christian Fellowship, the strictest and least forgiving of the Christian societies on her college campus. While she enjoys leading others into the words of God, Lydia is often left feeling like she has missed something from her own readings of the scripture – how can she be feeling these things towards other people if the Bible says it is wrong? This is a novel of how Lydia finds herself, and in doing so, can help others too.
I’m having a problem with some of these honeymoon romance periods novels at the moment. The sad truth is that many relationships won’t survive past the 2 year biological imperative. This novel is more important than that though, it’s about coming out in a place where you think everyone will be hostile.
For me, the ending didn’t entirely ring true. I’m not sure how dependant she was on her parents and other people, but noone seemed to have job. Oh wait, I’ve just realised this is set in the UK, so that means that the college rules are different. Anyway, aren’t jobs essential to university students?
I appreciated the reference to bisexuals not being really recognised in the queer community. Jowitt puts it nicely when she says that Colette could have fallen off one side of the fence or the other!
Surprisingly I’m going to be releasing this 4 star novel into the wild. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because 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.
On the job situation: given the period the book is set in, it’s quite plausible that the characters weren’t working. I was at university at roughly the same time the novel is set, and it was definitely possible to live off the student loan at the time if you were moderately careful (and didn’t live in London, probably). Lydia’s parents probably weren’t financially contributing to her support during term time anyway (other than perhaps the odd gift).
Once disowned, she’d probably need to pick up a holiday job to keep her going, but I don’t find the fact no-one has a term-time job implausible. None of my friends were from particularly wealthy backgrounds, but none of us needed to work during term (and in fact the university discouraged it, though they couldn’t stop it).
Declaration of interest: I’m a friend of Kathleen’s and in fact was one of her betas. But I do think one of the novel’s strengths is that it captures the feeling of being at university in those days very well.
Thanks for that useful information. I really did enjoy the novel, and it’s interesting to see what is different between Australia and the UK. Here, it’s expected you would have a job to support yourself.