Saturday, January 14, 2017

Review of Boy Erased: A Memoir

I read Garrard Conley's Boy Erased: A Memoir (2016) and it packs a punch. It's a memoir of the gay son of a Missionary Baptist preacher in small town Arkansas and how he is sent to therapy to "cure" him. He hates the therapy, which ultimately robs him of his faith, and he struggles both with his own identity and sexuality as well as his relationship with his parents. His father in particular simply cannot have a gay son--it would actually hurt his standing in his own church because how can you claim to fight Satan if you accept that?

It's a sad but engrossing book. The therapy is simply psychological abuse. You must've had problems in your family to be gay and you're in the grip of Satan. Stuff all your real feelings down and act like everyone else, no matter how painful it is. A lot of the book examines how we show things on the surface and hide so much else, and in fact we're often encouraged to do so. And sometimes that leaves scars.


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