A look at the book

Natalie Brink, News Editor

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Garrard Conley’s “Boy Erased” is a memoir depicted his time leading up to and during conservative Christian gay conversion therapy. Like in the movie, Conley forms friendships with other teenagers while at Love In Action, the organization behind the therapy. By telling his life story up to that point, Conley effectively paints a portrait of living in the Deep South while being gay.

Conley’s raw portrayal of his life and his relationships is a welcomed breath of fresh air, but that does not mean that this book is a good one.”

“Boy Erased” is very important in giving people who do not know about life in the Bible Belt a picture of what it is truly like to live there, especially as a gay youth. Conley’s raw portrayal of his life and his relationships is a welcomed breath of fresh air, but that does not mean that this book is a good one.

“Boy Erased” fails to draw the reader in based on literary merit. Conley attempts to create a complex, multi-layered narrative by flagrantly disregarding chronology. One moment the reader is trying to understand how LIA works and how Conley himself feels about it and the next they are being inundated by his childhood memories that have no relevance to the plot. This leaves the reader at best confused and at worst indignant. Woven throughout the messy plotline is diction that is awkward enough to take notice of nearly every chapter.

Unfortunately, while this book is important to the LGBTQ community, it does not read well as a narrative. As a book lover, it pains me to say that you should skip this book and settle in for the movie instead.

Buy and read the book for yourself here.

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