"This brave and bracing memoir is an urgent reminder that America remains a place where queer people have to fight for their lives... Read more...
"This brave and bracing memoir is an urgent reminder that America remains a place where queer people have to fight for their lives... Boy Erased is a necessary, beautiful book." --Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
A beautiful, raw and compassionate memoir about identity, love and understanding.
The son of a Baptist pastor and deeply embedded in church life in small town Arkansas, as a young man Garrard Conley was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality.
When Garrard was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to "cure" him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life. Through an institutionalized Twelve-Step Program heavy on Bible study, he was supposed to emerge heterosexual, ex-gay, cleansed of impure urges and stronger in his faith in God for his brush with sin. Instead, even when faced with a harrowing and brutal journey, Garrard found the strength and understanding to break out in search of his true self and forgiveness.
By confronting his buried past and the burden of a life lived in shadow, Garrard traces the complex relationships among family, faith, and community. At times heart-breaking, at times triumphant, this memoir is a testament to love that survives despite all odds.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-05-02
- Reviewer: Staff
In this exceptionally well-written memoir, Conley recounts his brief but harrowing time attending Love in Action, an ex-gay ministry. After the man who raped him in college outs him to his Missionary Baptist parents, Conley enters a tailspin that results in seeking conversion therapy to both placate his parents and find his own peace. He nicely weaves the account of his two weeks at Love in Action with stories from his earlier life to present a moving picture of the struggle to be gay—or stop being gay—in a conservative, southern Christian community. Particularly effective is the representation of his parents, who sincerely believe this is best for their son, and his recounting of this world slowly losing its grip on him. Other memoirs of ex-gay therapy survivors recount longer and more involved encounters with the process, but Conley offers enough for readers to understand the main concepts and methods of such groups. This timely addition to the debate on conversion therapy will build sympathy for both children and parents who avail themselves of it while still showing how damaging it can be. (May)