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 19-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 heartbreaking, at times triumphant, this memoir is a testament to love that survives despite all odds.
©2016 Garrard Conley (P)2016 Penguin Audio
This is a beautifully written memoir, powerfully moving, and ably narrated,. Conley's coming of age account has significance for anyone, regardless of sexual orientation. It is about the journey into adulthood, the struggle with religious authority that is based in fear and and rejection, but the quiet and ongoing "victory" that is possible even if painful.
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