TITLE: Boy Erased
AUTHOR: Garrad Conley
TRIGGER WARNING: multiple people going through ex gay camps, people having their way of thinking and life changed, and for suicidal ideation.
WHERE DID I RECEIVE THIS?: HarperCollinsNZ sent this to me in exchange for an honest review!
GENRE: Non Fiction
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.
Not erased is a story of…
Family, the son being pulled one way, the mother being molded into someone she’s not and the father trying to do what he thinks is right
Religion, is homosexuality a sin? Punishments for something you can’t help. Questioning god and his existence when things get tough and there is no one to help you
Self growth, learning who you are and who your friends are. Finding out who you’re meant to be, and doing what’s best for you, not anyone else.
The dangers of ex gay camps
Garrad grew up gay, was raped and then his rapist told his parents that he initiated it. They found it blasphemous and started finding ways to cure him. He went to LIA in hopes of being normal, but found their harsh tactics ripping who he truly was, out, and letting a bland person in. When it becomes to much, he calls for his mother to come get him and she panics thinking he wants to commit suicide. This leads to him leaving LIA and becoming openly gay. But this was a decade long battle after LIA’s doors closed behind him as he tried to rework what they taught him, and hold onto the threads of himself that they left behind.
I’ll be honest, I was so excited for this book and maybe that was what let me down about it. A little background info, I can read pretty fast. I tend to read 100 pages an hour, and I’ll finish a book in 1-3 days if I’m enjoying it. This took 5 days of me pushing as hard as I could to get through this fast, and it was only 338 pages. For me, this just wasn’t the right book. BUT for someone who is close to this topic, or really needs to know about this topic, I think they’d be able to get over the writing.
So I would have given this 1 Star if it wasn’t for the content. The content itself, was truly informative and left me feeling so bad for Garrad and everything he had to endure, even for only two weeks. I had heard a little about ex gay camps, but never Love In Action, and how they tried to cure people. I felt revolted by them, and I spent he whole book hoping his parents would come to their senses.
Now here’s the thing, as someone who studies non fiction, even if I’m not very good at it, I can recognise when it isn’t good either. This was a memoir, which are meant to be written in an entertaining enough way that people will want to continue reading the book, but it was written more like an article which made it hard to read more than 20 pages at a time. But it was the content that made me want to push forward and learn more.
Major trigger warnings for, multiple people going through ex gay camps, people having their way of thinking and life changed, and for suicidal ideation.
until next time,