15 April, 2015

Speak - Book Review

This book grabbed my attention as I was browsing the specials section in Koorong last week. I'd never heard of it before, but it looked interesting, and it looked enjoyable. My Mum bought it for me, and I started reading it immediately. It didn't take me that long to finish it, but I'm still thinking about it.

In Speak, Nish Weiseth basically talks about storytelling. She explains the power of stories; both listening to other's stories, and sharing our own. She points out that if we truly listen to the stories of others - how they got where they are - it would stop our judging. It's about seeing from someone else's perspective and realising why, instead of forming our opinions based on what we think we know. She also talks about the power of telling our story, and allowing others to have the opportunity of knowing that they're not alone. No matter how ordinary our life seems, our stories still have power; there are others who feel the same way.

Nish points out that storytelling bridges gaps; it breaks down boundaries. It allows us to appreciate what others have been through and how that has shaped them into who they are. On the other hand, through our stories others see that they're not the only ones struggling (or rejoicing, or whatever emotion we share), and there is hope. In her own words: “It's my prayer that this book will encourage and inspire you to explore your own stories – as well as seek out the stories of others – and to tell them with grace and abandon. It's my prayer that this book will remind you that your life and experiences have great value and that the world needs to hear about them. ...Stories can change us, change the hearts of others, and change the world.” (Speak page 28) This book shares a few stories, and the one I found most inspiring can be found here: link.

I have to add that while I came away feeling inspired to listen to other's stories more closely, and to find a way to share my own, I can't say this is an amazing book. The concept and ideas are, but I found it quite shallow, seemingly unconnected in places, and without definite conclusions. I thought the style was fairly amateurish, and sometimes it felt like there were unnecessary words and paragraphs – sort of in an attempt to lengthen the book. Of course that is just my opinion and my taste; I still really appreciate the book, and I'm glad to own it.

As I mentioned in the beginning, this concept is still circling in my mind... There are many ways to share stories, and the internet is one of them. I'm not sure how I even got there, but the other day I found myself on this blog. It inspired me even more, because each post shares a story or experience and ends with a thought-provoking lesson, made more powerful by the way it's linked to the story. To my mind, it was a very good example of what I'd just been reading and thinking about. I found it hard to stop reading, even after about eleven pages of blog posts; that's the power of stories I guess – they made the lessons hit home. These are some of my favourites so far: linklink, linklink, link

In closing, hear this: “Chances are there is someone in your orbit right now who's wondering if her or his story matters at all. As you share your very plain story of living out the stuff to which God has called you, they are set free to live and share their own.” (Speak page 189) See? Our stories don't have to be big or out of the ordinary, and they can still change the world. I like that.

I'm looking forward to hearing your story,

Jessica xxx :)


  1. Firstly, the author of the book has an interesting name..... :)

    Secondly, I read all the links you attached. The testimony of that guy: wow. The last few paragraphs were just really good. And the writing is captivating.

    thanks :)

    1. I know, I've never heard of that name before either... And yes, now you can see why I spent so long reading that guy's blog. :) Thanks for your comment, too. :)

  2. Wow! These are some great and challenging thoughts, especially for someone like me, who is always plagued with doubts about whether or not my writing is 'good enough'. But a few years ago, I finally decided that I was going to write, and write as well and as bravely as I possibly could. Even if my stories aren't as good as I think they should be, I am going to keep at it, because it isn't all about me. It's about taking the gifting and the desire that God has given to me and doing the very best that I can with it. Hopefully, I, too, will be able to encourage others along the way.

    1. Absolutely! I agree with you, and let me say - I was really encouraged by reading your blog today. :)
      Thanks so much for visiting this blog and leaving such a thoughtful comment!
      God bless.


When you comment:

1. My day will be brighter, my face smiling, and my heart blessed.

2. I’m likely to immediately go and explore your blog (if you have one) to find out more of your amazingness, and return the blessing.

3. I will then attempt to craft a response to you that will somehow fail to convey how much I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness and kindness. I’m grateful for every word of encouragement you give, and don’t be afraid to share some constructive criticism also; there’s always more to learn. In short: thank-you! :)