You’ve probably heard of the movie that was based on this memoir. I haven’t watched it yet, but really enjoyed reading the story straight from the boy who experienced it. Gerrard grew up in the Deep South, ensconced in an evangelical Christian community. Being gay was simply not an option. When, as a Freshman in college, Gerrard is outed to his family (and staunch Baptist community at large), he agrees to attend a conversion therapy course. There, Conley must adhere to strict rules controlling language, body language, and dress and identify what caused his homosexuality so he could be “fixed.”
I appreciated getting a peek into this environment. While I have a sense of what life in the Bible Belt is like, having grown up not tooooo far away, I know very little about conversion therapy and immersion programs like this. For being a unique account, I enjoyed it; however, it lacked momentum and the ending fell flat for me. It lacked the drama I expected from the movie trailers as well as many of the conversations that likely shaped him. That said, real life isn’t always dramatic and full of yelling. Overall, he was not at the center for long. Why do we know so little about what happened when he left?
3 out of 5 stars.
Pair with: A strawberry daiquiri because it’s one of the first things you drink when you start drinking and by the end of this book you realize Gerrard is about to be able to experience things for the first time, this time as himself.