Boy Erased - Garrard Conley

Boy Erased

By Garrard Conley

  • Release Date: 2016-05-10
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 4
From 200 Ratings


The New York Times bestselling memoir about identity, love and understanding. Now a major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and Lucas Hedges, directed by Joel Edgerton. "Every sentence of the story will stir your soul" (O Magazine).
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.
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, this memoir is a testament to love that survives despite all odds.


  • Melodramatic Indulgence

    By RobMSF
    Garrard Conley is the luckiest man on earth — lucky that someone has paid him to make a movie version of this “memoir.” “Boy Erased” is an exercise in melodramatic indulgence. It reads for the most part like a compilation of juvenile notes the author made at a time of spiritual crisis, dominated by his struggle to come to terms with his sexual identity. The result is a painstaking beating of the dead horse of his emotions, rendered awkwardly and sometimes redundantly. Yes, there is an important message here about gay conversion therapy, but it could have been conveyed in probably half the pages. And there’s an additional message that apparently never sank in with the author: we sometimes imagine that we are victims of external forces when in truth we’re victims of our own weaknesses, of our own inability to swim against the current. Maybe with more conviction, the author wouldn’t have been pulled along and made so confused as he was. But all in all, there’s nothing particularly unique or interesting here. It’s a boring and poorly written book.
  • So glad I read this book

    By Plexiglasshouse
    Great compelling, raw story. I finished the book within 2 days - couldn’t put it down! The author showed his struggle with being gay in an ultra-conservative religious group and the warped experience conversion therapy was. As a reader who has never been in his situations (not gay, not overly religious, no controlling family, etc) I want to come up with solutions but no solution works except for him to live his truth.
  • Important, gripping, overwritten

    By Sigrid710
    Really glad this story is being told but if Mr. Conley wants to be a writer and not just a confessional-memoir one-hit wonder/overpaid speakers bureau type, he’s going to need to know when to ease off the imagery pedal, especially once the book sales spike again when the movie comes out and his novel has that much more pressure to sell. I don’t think I’ll ever find the concept of an afterimage interesting again, sis.