Review: The Preacher’s Son by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock (Updated)

preachers son

Updated: 1/17/18

Hi everyone,

In light of some comments I have received regarding the nature of this story in general, as well as my review in particular, I have decided to remove my review of The Preacher’s Son.

I want to sincerely apologize that my review upset and hurt people. I want to make it absolutely clear that I have nothing but antipathy for so-called “conversion camps.” I think they are horrific, cruel, and should be illegal. The very idea of someone trying to force another to change such an integral part of themselves is unacceptable, and in particular the way that these camps often prey most on young people who are vulnerable and often at the mercy of their families makes them even worse. It truly makes me sick to even think about and I am horrified that anything I said in my review suggested that I feel differently. Truly, I am beyond myself at the thought that I could have indicated acceptance, or even worse, support for these camps or those who run them. It was never my intention at all. However, it is clear from feedback I received that this is how it came across and for that I am truly sorry.

I don’t think there is any way to explain my exact thought process as I was reading the book and writing the review. The bottom line is that I got overly focused on the specifics of the story, rather than seeing the bigger picture here in terms of the effects of placing a romance within the framework of the camp. While I don’t think the book glorifies the camp, and in fact condemns it, I recognize how any romance novel within this setting can be understandably upsetting to people.

Again, I sincerely apologize if anything that I wrote suggested support for these “conversion therapy camps” or displayed a lack of sensitivity for those who have suffered at their hands. If anyone would like to discuss it with me directly, please feel free to email me and I am more than happy to talk more.

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  1. Chester L. Fuckyou says:

    This is incredibly gross, and your fetishization of m/m relationships is creepy enough, but the entire analysis of the father is so off-base and insane that I don’t even have words. Evil is evil, and wrong is wrong. His being a “loving father” doesn’t counteract the sheer and irredeemable evil of his acts. If anything, his “loving father” act is just gaslighting of his son so that he can justify that he’s “doing it out of love.” You and the rest of your weird coven of fetishizing hags should stick to reviewing literature that has exactly anything to do with yourselves and leave us the fuck alone.

    • I appreciate your comment and I am sorry if my condemnation of the father and the camps in general did not come through clearly enough in my review. I 100% agree with you that the whole idea of “conversation therapy” is horrific and should be illegal. There is no excuse for it, not ever. I can not state this strongly enough and believe it sincerely. My observations about him being a “loving father” were meant to illustrate that he doesn’t come across as your typical fire and brimstone preacher, not to excuse his behavior in any way. He does appear to feel love for his son and the kids at the camp. However, as I noted, he is horribly misguided and whatever his intentions, his methods are harmful. I am sorry if my review gave you the impression I believed otherwise.

      • Franka Illmer says:

        No, abuse is not love, and religion is no excuse for abuse. But this? “You and the rest of your weird coven of fetishizing hags should…”

        I feel that this blog is not a safe place to visit anymore.

        • I am so sorry you feel that way Franka. I was upset by that comment as well, but I know we have a wonderful community of readers and reviewers here who don’t all feel that way. I hope you will continue to stop by!

  2. I appreciate your review, Jay, and I can appreciate the ambiguity you mention. I think this is one book I’d like to read to determine how my feelings align or differ with yours.

  3. Your characterization of this preacher who is running a gay conversion camp as “misguided” turns my stomach. You go out of your way to mention that he “loves and forgives” his son, when there is *nothing* to forgive. His “love” and “forgiveness” come with steep conditions. Do you know what that’s called? Manipulation and emotional ABUSE. You also mention how much he “loves” the kids he is emotionally and psychologically ABUSING! Gross. Not to mention that many of these types of camps also use physical torture to reinforce their message.

    This man is a CHILD ABUSER. He should not be excused for his actions. Other parents out there in real life rationalize beating and emotionally abusing their kids by saying they’re doing it “for the right reasons” too. Yeah, he’s not your stereotypical “fire and brimstone” preacher but that only makes him more dangerous and it CERTAINLY does not make him “misguided.” The idea that people have to be “evil” to do evil things is a horrible concept that prevents us from seeing the everyday evils committed around us by “normal” people. Would you defend a child abuser in any other situation?

    Your review does a disservice to all the survivors of gay conversion therapy/camps and those who weren’t luck enough to make it out alive.

    And don’t even get me started on the fact that Jason is another of Nathan’s abusers. Publicly outing someone with a sex tape is an act of violence, especially knowing that Nathan’s father is abusive. People have literally killed themselves over being outed against their will. I can’t see any world in which Nathan deserves to end up in a romantic relationship with his assailant. Just, no.

    • Barb, thank you for articulating some of my thoughts better than I could have.

      I’m terribly disappointed and offended to see this blog (which I have read/supported for years) vouching for a veritable ode to queer torture porn by saying, essentially, “but they’re so NICE while they’re irrevocably harming Nathan and the campers!”…

      Outing someone is an act of violence. Posting a sex tape without knowledge or consent is an act of violence. Literally EVERY SINGLE THING that happens at a conversion camp is an act of violence. And yet the book is framed as a romance?!? That is sick.

      • Thank you Sarah for your thoughts. I can completely understand how my review suggested some level of acceptance for the camp and the person who ran it. It was never my intention, but in hindsight, I can see that is how it came across. Please know I am sickened by the very idea of these camps and I am horrified that my review didn’t make that clear. I have removed the review and issued an apology. I am happy to talk with you more about this if you would like.

    • Barb, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I am beyond horrified that anything I said in my review suggested anything less than a full condemnation of the camps and those who run them. Even more, that it failed to directly acknowledge the damage that these camps can do to those forced to attend. I have removed my review and issued a public apology in its place. If you would like to discuss this further or share your thoughts with me directly, you are welcome to comment here or send me an email. Again, I sincerely apologize.

  4. Hello Jay,

    I did not read your original review, so I have no comment to make about either this book or your assessment of it. But as someone who has misspoken herself – indeed, I have been thoughtless and ignorant so many times – I support you, and will continue to enjoy browsing your blog and reading your reviews. I recognise a sincere apology when I hear one, and yours leaves me in no doubt. Up till a few years ago, I was stunningly homophobic. Having been raised in a conservative evangelical church, I believed that homosexuality was a sin, that misguided people were choosing a perverted lifestyle, and that conversion therapy was the only hope. I would have donated money to keep these camps running. I’ve had my come-to-Jesus moment, needless to say. Reading this blog, and m/m fiction, and listening to the stories of LGBTQ people helped me learn better beliefs. We are *all* learning.

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