Paul Drucker has made a name for himself telling young gay men that he can cure them of their “sinful desires.” Trouble is, he’s all too familiar with those desires himself, which leads him to Julian Evans, a male “escort” he finds online.  Paul tells himself, and Julian, that he simply needs an assistant, someone to help him on an upcoming lecture tour. The reality, of course, is quite different, and when the media discovers them together, Paul tries to straighten up his image by starting an ex-gay group at his church.

 

Which is where Julian’s roommate, Aaron, comes in. Eager to expose the ex-gay movement for the sham that it is, Aaron goes undercover in Paul’s conversion group, posing as a gay man hoping to be “cured.” However, things get complicated, and more than a little strange, when Aaron meets the other members of the group: a motley assortment of queers struggling to reconcile their desires with their faith, and with their families. Will Paul’s techniques, which include group showers, lessons in manly walking, and something called “holding therapy,” lead to newly created heterosexuals?  To tragedy?  Maybe even to love? 

Saving Julian is a beautifully constructed and paced novel, which explores the misguided world of the ex-gay without ever being condescending. It's a very humane book.   

 

--Edmund White, author of A Boy's Own Story and The Beautiful Room is Empty

 

 

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© 2017 by Mason Stokes