I m not giving this a rating It doesn t seem right to rate someone s life, even if I ve done so in the past and will probably rate other memoirs after this, but this time it doesn t feel right to rate it on a five point scale that wouldn t truly capture the importance of this story Because Alex s story is horrifying and hard to read and maddening and really, really important, especially in an apathetic USA that thinks the LGBTQ movement has won and or is winning all its major political battles despite electing a president whose choice for vice president is such a vocal proponent of gay conversion therapy We need to hear stories like Alex s again and again until the stories like this no longer exist. The teacher that still lurks inside me fought a constant battle between rage and sorrow while reading this true story I m horrified that any adult would behave this way towards a child, despite the fact that I ve seen and heard even worse POTENTIAL SPOILERS YOU VE BEEN WARNEDI m proud of Alex but ashamed of many of the adults in this novel, including her parents, whom I still find to be an epic disappointment I don t feel that sacrificing basic humanity and kindness is ever acceptable behavior, regardless of your religious beliefs I appreciate how facts and statistics about the LGBT community were included, so it becomes clear that this was not just a rare or random act of abuse, intolerance, and hatred From my perspective, the parents both belong in jail as well as the Siales , and they should consider themselves lucky that Alex protected them, despite the fact that they never protected her Their neglect and complete lack of support, even after finding out what she suffered, is appalling This book will make you angry, sad, and hopeful If it doesn t, then you might need to take a long look in the mirror and reevaluate your life and perspectives Pages 256 The subtitle says it all This is a memoir about Alex Cooper s problems being a lesbian teen in a Mormon family Her parents loved her, and she loved them in return She admits in the book that she was quite a handful as a teen she drank, smoked pot, and went on trips with friends without her parents permission But the one transgression they could not forgive was her declaration that she liked girls They believed that being gay was a choice, a bad choice that would keep her out of paradise So they found a place in Utah to send her to cure her by making her choose to be straight and to stop choosing to be gay This book tells her story of her life at the place an unlicensed couple acting as if they ran a conversion therapy and rehabilitation center and beyond The story recounts her suffering at the hands of the family who took her in and her life after her escape Suffice it to say that through a series of lucky happenstances and a lot of hard work by many people of good will, this story has a happy ending, for Alex and, eventually, for her parents While the story is compelling the reader wants to know what happens next , the writing is pedestrian Still, I was glad to have read this book and recommend it to others interested in protecting LBGT kids who wish to be who they are Alex was only fifteen when her saga began, and she is only twenty one now as I write this review That could account for the compelling nature of the read And I am sure that in the years ahead, Alex may come to have an even richer understanding of what she went through There are some notes at the end of the book to guide those who wish to do to help such teens and also those who feel in need of such help.3 5 An infuriating read The Utah Cooper describes is chillingly close to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a place where the semblance of happy family life and a seemingly sympathetic gaze mask unfeeling conformity, but it s her ability to find empathy for both her parents and captors even while justifiably wanting to run the latter over that makes this book both moving and enlightening It s also a nice retort to the loons blathering about Sharia law in the US, as even after her escape, Cooper is forced to lock horns with a homegrown version in the Utah legal system This is not John Krakauer writing wise, but it deserves a spot alongside Under the Banner of Heaven and Emily Danforth s Miseducation of Cameron Post. This book is as horrific as you might expect based on the title It s heart breaking that only a few years ago, a girl not much younger than I am experienced something this horrific in the United States with her parents approval and encouragement Every layer of her story makes me so sick to my stomach The people who knew, were involved, bore witness, or heard of her stories of her abuse and accepted that this was okay and necessary for her to be a part of God s plan and to choose to not be gay Alex doesn t insist that this is because of Mormonism, but without the messages taught to her family within the Mormon faith her life could have looked very different She does make the point that Mormonism does not give a lot of support or guidance to healthily support gay children or family members Surprisingly, she has a lot of compassion for her parents Remarkable, evenThankfully, in the end, Alex s story has justice all because of her persistence and deep belief that there is nothing broken about her Thanks to a relentless friend who reached out to Alex and a team of lawyers who at their own expenses sought to help Alex, we get to hear her story and she goes on to help other children currently in need. Fuck the people who did this to Alex.Fuck the Mormon church And any other church that condones hateful acts like this book tells about.Fuck her parents.Fuck Tiana and Johnny, whoever they really are.Fuck the people who looked past Alex and didn t say anything.Fuck any close minded, hard hearted BIGOTS because that s who you are who ever think that being gay, lesbian, trans, or whatever other shade of the spectrum you can and cannot imagine is meant to be anything but CELEBRATED for a beautiful, joyful gift.But on the other handBless Delsy Bless Jason Bless Paul And most of all, bless Alex, for being brave enough not only to live her story, but tell her story.If you can read this book and not be moved to anger, sadness, and a great need to help in SOME way then I feel bad for you I can t say that I loved this book because I don t love that books like this ever exist in the nonfiction section But this book is important And it is brave And it is necessary. I m giving this story 3 stars because of the missing information, the novice writing, and some small issues I had with the layout however, this book was an amazing and tragic story that is necessary to share This happens often than not and it makes me mad, it makes me disgusted, and it also makes me sad Loving someone does not give you the right, authority, or ability to change that person to fit what you think they should do Being a parent doesn t mean that your child loves you unconditionally, it means that you teach your child what unconditional means If you bring a child into this world, you are the last person that can bully your child, you are supposed to accept everything about them that the rest of the world will use against them If they are born with 9 fingers instead of 10, you love the heck out of those 9 fingers, your kid is going to be the best at blah blah blah with 9 fingers If your child is born and grows up to love the same sex, then they are going to be the most awesome gay kid ever If your child is born with a mental disability, that child is going to be special but not in a derogatory manner What I am saying is, we cannot control who are child is when they are born, but we can control how we react and who we let tell us that our children are not precious.I felt terrible for Alex, and many like her I m not gay, I have no gay relatives, no gay best friend, but that doesn t mean that I don t understand what being gay means It s the same as saying I m a brunette, or I m Hispanic These are things I was born into with, things that are ingrained into my very person I would not expect someone to change their hair color to fit in, or change their ethnicity to make everyone acceptant of me Further, I would not expect a gay person to be able to change their stripes They were born gay, no one wakes up and decides I m going to be gay Maybe they wake up and say I m going to accept myself, even if everyone else can t But I don t think their is a sexuality switch and it s disrespectful to make such an assumption I also don t believe my God works with hate, Judge not, lest ye be judged These treatment centers are deplorable and against basic civil liberties It is important for these stories to be told, to be heard, to be believed, and to be shared. THIS BOOK MADE ME SICK.The crimes against young LGBT in the Mormon faith is nauseating to say the very least and Alex Cooper s outspoken memoir is heartbreakingly just that She explains the what s, how s, where s and who s but is left asking all sorts of why s Young and courageous, Alex stands up and tells her story of surviving being abused as a lesbian teenager in Arizona California. I m torn on how to rate this one The story itself was so compelling and felt like an important story to be told The writing was decent, but not amazing I also felt like I was left with some unanswered questions at the end of the book, although perhaps they are unanswered because Alex is still so young and might not even know the answers yet Overall, worth the read an important story told by a very brave and resilient young woman. When Alex Cooper Was Fifteen Years Old, Life Was Pretty Ordinary In Her Sleepy Suburban Town And Nice Mormon Family At Church And At Home, Alex Was Taught That God Had A Plan For Everyone But Something Was Gnawing At Her That Made Her Feel Different These Feelings Exploded When She Met Yvette, A Girl Who Made Alex Feel Alive In A New Way, And With Whom Alex Would Quickly Fall In LoveAlex Knew She Was Holding A Secret That Could Shatter Her Family, Her Church Community, And Her Life Yet When This Secret Couldn T Be Hidden Any Longer, She Told Her Parents That She Was Gay, And The Nightmare Began She Was Driven From Her Home In Southern California To Utah, Where, Against Her Will, Her Parents Handed Her Over To Fellow Mormons Who Promised To Save Alex From Her HomosexualityFor Eight Harrowing Months, Alex Was Held Captive In An Unlicensed Residential Treatment Program Modeled On The Many Therapeutic Boot Camps Scattered Across Utah Alex Was Physically And Verbally Abused, And Many Days She Was Forced To Stand Facing A Wall Wearing A Heavy Backpack Full Of Rocks Her Captors Used Faith To Punish And Terrorize Her With The Help Of A Dedicated Legal Team In Salt Lake City, Alex Eventually Escaped And Made Legal History In Utah By Winning The Right To Live Under The Law S Protection As An Openly Gay TeenagerAlex Is Not Alone The Headlines Continue To Splash Stories About Gay Conversion Therapy And Rehabilitation Centers That Promise To Save Teenagers From Their Sexuality Saving Alex Is A Courageous Memoir That Tells Alex S Story In The Hopes That It Will Bring Awareness And Justice To This Important Issue A Bold, Inspiring Story Of One Girl S Fight For Freedom, Acceptance, And Truth