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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Powerful memoir

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not What I’d Hoped

The idea behind this memoir is fascinating and stories like these need to be told. Still, I felt this book kept me at arm’s length.

My problem was with Conley’s style of writing. His prose is incredibly flowery and I can’t help but think he got so caught up in literary flourishes, he lost the story’s heart. It never shakes off the vibe of a university creative non-fiction class.

Considering this book is the author’s memoir, I feel like I don’t know him at all. He writes himself as a cipher, without any real depth, instead focusing on his observations of people and items surrounding him. He goes to painstaking length to describe things like fingernails, ceramic pipes, and his mother’s clothing- but doesn’t allow the reader to really see his emotions or who he is. There’s a wall that never comes down.

I’m genuinely sorry I didn’t love this book the way I hoped I would. It’s really all a matter of personal taste, though and I have nothing but respect for what Garrard had to endure and even more for his continuing advocacy. He’s certainly a hero in my book for speaking out against the ugliness of conversion therapy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Boy Erased

Excellent book. Many young, confused adolescents need to read. I would highly recommend for straight people to read.

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Hauntingly beautiful

Every person who is struggling with their sexuality should read this book. Hopefully it’ll make you proud of who you are.

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Finally!

a genuine review of ex gay brainwashing. Thank you for writing this. I can't wait for the film.

amazing.

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Powerful and Important

This is such an important story and a testament to why we need to ban "conversion" therapy. Some parts will be hard to listen to, but power through because this memoir is a must read/listen.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Powerful but sometimes slow

Slow at times but a powerful brutal important and honest story thats amazongly told amen