BOOK REVIEW: Boy Erased by Garrard Conley

February 20, 2019

Boy Erased

By Garrard Conley

Outed to his parents by his rapist after being attacked, his Baptists fundamentalist parents told him he had to go through ‘gay conversion therapy’ or leave the family forever, in a way this is their story, he dedicates the book to them.

This is horror, most honest.

He recounts his brutal journey into the ruthless brainwashing of the biblical based course but then turns and sees his true light, his one person truth. By dissecting and dismantling the complex web of power, pressure and conformity in his family, his small Arkansas community and also peeling away the layers of his own life he allows us, with his raw and stunning honesty to feel our way out of the awfulness of heteronormative erasure back to his own authentic honest gay life.

I was astonished. As a story it’s an inspiration, and as a writer Conley’s prose takes us firmly but comfortable by the hand and leads us though this narrative with a gentle vigour which allows us to comprehend the horror, appreciate his pain and suffering and then move forward into the learning, forgiveness and ultimate growth of his unlimited queer potential.

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, Boy Erased is a testament to love that survives despite all odds.

For more info or to buy the book see the publishers website here.