Garrard Conley on Finding One’s Own Identity in America (VIDEO)

By Sara Clemens | October 18 2017 | First-Year Reading: Memoir & Biography

A beautiful, raw and compassionate memoir about identity, love and understanding.

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.


Garrard recently talked to Signature about finding his identity in small-town America, surviving gay conversion therapy, and being part of the LGBTQ community in today’s political climate.



Click here for full transcript of Garrard’s video.


A film adaptation of Boy Erased is in the works, starring Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and Lucas Hedges, directed by Joel Edgerton and produced by Anonymous Content and Focus Features.

A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family
Biography & Autobiography - Personal Memoirs
Biography & Autobiography - Literary Figures
Biography & Autobiography - LGBT
"This brave and bracing memoir is an urgent reminder that America remains a place where queer people have to fight for their lives....Boy Erased is a necessary, beautiful book."—Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
$16.00 US | $22.00 CAN
Feb 07, 2017
5-1/2 x 8-1/4
352 Pages
Riverhead Books
US, Canada, Open Mkt