Saving Alex: When I Was Fifteen I Told My Mormon Parents I Was Gay, and That’s When My Nightmare Began

Alex Cooper, with Joanna Brooks. HarperOne, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-237460-8
In this affecting memoir, Cooper recounts the horrifying abuse inflicted on her at an unlicensed residential treatment program in southern Utah. After Alex came out to her parents as a lesbian, they sent her to strangers who subjected her to physical and emotional torture and an orthodox version of Mormonism in hopes of making her realize her sexuality was a choice. The last third of the book recounts how Alex, with the help of a dedicated lawyer, managed to swim upstream against the Utah court system and gain the legal right to refuse reparative therapy. It’s harrowing to read how outsiders, including religious leaders, and her own parents ignored Alex’s various attempts to escape and constantly sided with her abusers. Even with Alex’s explanatory asides, some non-Mormon readers might be occasionally puzzled by cultural practices and terminology. The positive ending to her story (and the slim chances for such an ending in the first place) calls all readers to do more for vulnerable youth. Without offering any easy reconciliation between homosexuality and faith, Alex’s story provides an example of how to not be consumed by anger and hate toward an abusive version of religion. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/11/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
Genre: Religion
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-06-237462-2
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-06-246739-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-245529-1
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-06-237461-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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