SAVING ALEX by Alex Cooper


When I Was Fifteen I Told My Mormon Parents I Was Gay, and that's When My Nightmare Began
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A memoir of a lesbian Mormon who stood up for her rights.

When 15-year-old Cooper told her parents that she was gay, she had no idea she would cause a tidal wave in her Mormon family and community. "I can see how terrifying it must have been, for my mom especially,” she writes, “because our religion told her there was no place for people like me, no place in the faith and the community that held her world together, and no place in God's plan." Unable to deal with the issue, the author’s parents sent her to Utah to live with a strict Mormon family who swore they could change and “cure” her of her homosexuality. Their treatment methods were abusive, both physically and verbally, and Cooper struggled to survive each day for the eight months she had to live with this couple and their family. The author’s prose is expressive, honest, and moving as she writes about how she battled to balance her own sense of faith and acceptance of her sexual identity with the strong tenets being forced upon her, which excluded gay people completely. Surrounded by Mormons who believed the couple was doing the right thing and ignored Cooper's pleas for help, she had to draw on inner strengths that she didn't know she had. Eventually, she managed to find help from other gay people hidden in the community and outside the state of Utah. Cooper's story demonstrates how a strong belief in any religion can cause people to do great harm to other humans simply because that religion justifies their methods and actions. It also shows how it is still possible to endure and prevail.

The traumatic and illuminating events suffered by a teenage girl who dared to say she was gay in a religious community that doesn't readily accept homosexuality.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-06-237460-8
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: HarperOne
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2016


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