By: Garrard Conley
NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE STARRING LUCAS HEDGES, RUSSELL CROWE AND NICOLE KIDMAN, AND WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY JOEL EDGERTON
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 institutionalised 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 heartbreaking, at times triumphant, this memoir is a testament to love that survives despite all odds.
About the Author
Garrard Conley’s fiction and nonfiction can be found in Time, Vice and on CNN.com, Buzzfeed, and elsewhere. He has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and Elizabeth Kostova Foundation writers’ conferences. A finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Boy Erased , Conley lives and teaches in Brooklyn, New York.
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by Graeme Aitken
The film adaptation had a splashy launch into cinemas internationally in early November, with much anticipation that many of its lead cast were destined for Academy Award nominations. Conley’s writing ambitions are mentioned in the film, so hopefully this will lead some viewers to seek out the memoir it was based upon.
Boy Erased was published back in May 2016 and had considerable success, including being nominated for a Lambda Literary Award and featured as a top 2016 non-fiction book by Buzzfeed and other prominent media.