Saving Alex is subtitled When I Was Fifteen I Told My Mormon Parents I Was Gay, and That’s When My Nightmare Began and that pretty much sums up the book. Now that may sound flippant, but it is not meant to be. The subtitle sets up a harrowing tale of what happens when people attempt to change an innate part of another. The life of Alex Cooper took on a frightening turn when, after coming out to her conservative and religious parents, they sign guardianship over to a couple who claim they can “fix” her. What follows is eight months of abuse, deprivation, and attempted brain washing.
Alex Cooper has dealt with a lot in her young life. Being able to put it in writing, I imagine, has to be cathartic for her. She has a strong voice which comes across in her writing. A few areas lacked the emotion in the rest of the book, and that may be due to the co-writer, or to her suppressing some feelings, which is natural. Other than these few scenes emotion coursed through the book. The beginning was a bit slow but the information delivered helped move the story in the second part.
I have heard of reconditioning centers and understood the concept, but have never heard from a person who lived through it. The idea that someone would think they can change an integral part of another is abhorrent to me and the fact that young people have to go through this makes me shudder. I am glad that this experience has made Alex Cooper a strong and thoughtful young women, but wonder about the damage caused to others. Memoirs like Saving Alex are so important, as they help demystify procedures that we may not think of too closely. I am glad I had a chance to read Saving Alex as it made me even more firm in my knowledge that a person’s sexual orientation is not a choice, as anyone would choose differently under such harsh circumstances. I wish the best for Alex and hope that the process of writing this book has helped her heal and move on.
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.