Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Spoke in the Wheel” as Want to Read:
A Spoke in the Wheel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Spoke in the Wheel

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  19 ratings  ·  13 reviews
The first thing I saw was the wheelchair.
The first thing she saw was the doper.

Ben Goddard is an embarrassment - as a cyclist, as an athlete, as a human being. And he knows it. Now that he's been exposed by a positive drugs test, his race wins and his work with disabled children mean nothing. He quits professional cycling in a hurry, sticks a pin in a map, and sets out t
Paperback, 258 pages
Published May 5th 2018 by Kathleen Jowitt
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Spoke in the Wheel, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Spoke in the Wheel

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-27
Rating details
Sort: Default
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

I chose to read A Spoke In The Wheel based on its eyecatching cover and one of the characters being identified in the synopsis as a wheelchair user. I see disabled people around me pretty much every day, but they still seem to rarely warrant inclusion in novels. I thought Kathleen Jowitt has created a wonderful character in Polly. She's abrasive and outspoken which initially comes across as rudeness, but once I began to understand exactly wha
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, sports
*** Note: I received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. many thanks to author for giving me a chance to read this great book. ***

That blurb doesn’t speak much about book except that it revolves around road cycling and so it was but there was more to the book. Life literally put spoke in character’s life in this book. It was about coping with defamation, disability, and unfinished dreams; taking accountability of actions; consequences of pushing oneself beyond limits; an
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ben Hubbard is a disgraced drug taking cyclist. He wants to become anonymous as he walks away from his career, instead of trying to make excuses or trying to justify his actions. He leaves his family and his lifestyle and wants to start afresh. A chance encounter with flatmates Vicki and Polly gives him the chance to a take the first steps.

This is a book I wasn’t sure what to make of from the synopsis especially as I am not really a road cycling fan. Little things caught my eye and I am so glad
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ok so… I do not read contemporary fiction, so this was a big change for me, and I will admitt it took me maybe 40-50 pages to get really into the story. But once I hit that point I sat and read the rest of the book that evening. I just loved it!

The novel is told from Ben’s point of view, a disgraced cyclist trying to build a new life. It follows his attempt to build his new life and the friendships he develops with Polly and Vicki his new housemates. I found Ben a really interesting character, h
Sadie Slater
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Kathleen Jowitt's first novel, Speak its Name, was the first self-published novel to be shortlisted for the Betty Trask prize. It was also one of my favourite reads of 2016, so I was really looking forward to her second novel, A Spoke in the Wheel, which has just been released.

A Spoke in the Wheel leaves behind the university environment of Speak its Name; it's the story of former professional cyclist Ben Goddard, who has fled the world of cycling after failing a drugs test and moves to a Lancas
Rachel Simson
I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I decided to accept the review request because the book discusses disability and I was intrigued, but I was worried about the themes of cycling as sport isn’t something I am generally interested in. However, the sport didn’t bother me at all, in fact, I enjoyed reading about Ben and his story as a professional cyclist. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s realistic, well written and witty.

There is also a lot of protagonist growth throughout th
Beth Roper
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received this book from the author in return for an honest review, and I was instantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it and the extent to which Jowitt’s writing captivated me. The novel, at its centre, considers the question of ‘starting anew’; Ben Goddard, recently expelled from the cycling community after a drug scandal, begins the novel by running away from his past and, in this way, it is a mature ‘coming-of-age’ story. However, it is also much more than that. The book brilliantly illust ...more
Steph Warren
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

A Spoke in the Wheel is a love story, but it is also, and perhaps primarily, a story about learning to forgive and like yourself.

Kathleen Jowitt manages to explore issues of prejudice (our own and other people’s), assumptions we make about others on sight and shame (our own and that society aims at us), all in a way that gently educates without being preachy or losing sight of the s
Nicola Smith
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I must admit that what drew me to this book in the first place was the cycling element. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of watching cycling and I certainly never do any, but I find it an interesting sport when fictionalised. In fact, there isn't that much actual cycling going on in this book, but it's an excellent read about redemption and friendship.

Ben Goddard is an ex-cyclist but he took performance enhancing drugs and got thrown out of his team and the sport. He could go back in a year but
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A story about excellently characterised people accidentally brought together - a disgraced cyclist, and two cycling fans, about having to use a wheelchair, putting your life back together, about friendship and love, and negotiating the idiocies of daily life. A really enjoyable read.
Susan Lanigan
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Most novels focus on the rise and fall of their heroes. This one is very different because it focuses on the long, slow process of redemption. Review to follow when I am near a keyboard...
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was ok


Dear Reader,

I want you to know that I really did try to like this book. I tried HARD. When an author requests that I read their book I get super excited! And this author is so nice and I want it to be known that this review is not a reflection of her, but that this book just wasn't for me. I do believe that Jowitt explores important matters such as disability, homosexuality, drug abuse, and ignorance, and I never felt like I was being lectured. However, maybe the British humor was lost on me. Pe
Irene Headley
rated it really liked it
May 12, 2018
rated it really liked it
May 11, 2018
rated it it was amazing
May 08, 2018
Rachael Dewhurst
rated it really liked it
Aug 07, 2018
Emma Farley
rated it liked it
May 14, 2018
rated it it was amazing
May 26, 2018
[Review to come in 2019.]
rated it really liked it
Aug 26, 2018
added it
May 11, 2018
Kylie Hadfield
marked it as to-read
May 14, 2018
marked it as to-read
May 18, 2018
Nancy Brady
marked it as to-read
May 26, 2018
marked it as to-read
Sep 27, 2018
marked it as to-read
Dec 07, 2018
marked it as to-read
May 08, 2018
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Kathleen Jowitt was born in Winchester and grew up deep in the Welsh Marches and, subsequently, on the Isle of Wight. After completing her undergraduate degree in English Literature at the University of Exeter she moved to Guildford and found herself working for a major trade union.

She now lives in Cambridge, works in London, and writes on the train. Her stories are about people who sort their own