‘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.’

This book was deeply emotional.

I was expecting this would be a hard book to read and I wasn’t wrong. Reading this book made me an emotional wreck. Given how hard parts of this book were to read I can’t imagine how hard they were to write.

For some reason I thought the events in this book took place in the late 80’s or early 90’s so I was shocked to see that it took place in 2004. I can’t get my head around the fact that this happened so recently and it is still happening in some places.

As heartbreaking as parts of this book were I would have liked more information about the treatment and lessons that were taught at LIA. I understand that this book was extremely hard to write, so I will have to do my own research into these ex-gay programs.

I struggle to understand how these programs are still in operation around the world, and I can’t ever fathom what it must be like to actually live through one of them. Just reading about them made my skin crawl and really upset me. If that is what reading this book did to me, I honestly don’t know how people survived these programs.

I can’t imagine what Garrard Conley went through whilst writing this book. You could feel the emotion radiating off the pages; especially the desperation and confusion. I truly believe that everyone can learn something from this story.

Boy Erased by Garrard Conley is a truly emotional memoir that will stay with you long after the final page. A must read for everyone.

Published by Geramie Kate Barker