A Plus Book Club

Author Garrard Conley Explains Why His Time In Conversion Therapy Is More Complicated Than You'd Think

His memoir "Boy Erased" was the May selection of the A Plus Book Club.

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Last week, Associate Editor Lindsay Geller and I were joined by author Garrard Conley to talk about his memoir Boy Erased in the third meeting of the A Plus Book Club. Over glasses of wine (of course), we chatted about the need for more nuanced LGBTQ narratives in literature, the memoir-writing process, and the touching reception he has received from readers.

The book focuses on the time Conley, the son of a Baptist preacher who was outed to his parents in college, spent in conversion therapy in the early 2000s. He says that while many readers have expressed shock to him that such a thing could have happened in this millennium, the underlying societal issues that led his parents to think this was the best option for him are still at play today. 

"My parents grew up thinking that if my child was gay, would be strung up, beaten, and murdered," Conley said. "I think because we don't [have] many stories that are queer, it's easier for parents and these counselors to buy into these harmful ideas. Not that I shifted the blame necessarily — people were responsible for sending me there — but this was a much larger cultural moment. It's been happening since the beginning of our country. It's still happening. These things don't go away." 

Check out the full video above, and be sure to join us for next month's A Plus Book Club. As always, if there's a book you'd like to see featured, send your requests to bookclub@aplus.com.

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