The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Malachi the Queer, by Damian Jay Clay, is a story about Malachi, a gay teenager with deeply religious parents who is sent to a conversion camp. The book is a journey of self-discovery, telling of Malachi’s destructive relationship with his parents, the abuse he endures during his time at the camp and the lifelong friendships and relationships he develops in learning to accept his sexuality.
From start to finish, this book took me in and didn’t let me put it down until I’d finished reading it. Malachi’s story is heartbreaking, particularly as I was able to personally relate to some of his experiences. More than once, I found myself wanting to take Malachi from the pages and wrap him in a hug.
What made the book hit home even more were his parents. They are deeply religious and use this as an excuse to abuse Malachi, believing his sexuality to be an act against God. Being of faith myself, it stung me to know that there are others who deem it acceptable to treat people this way because of what they believe in. It also made me realise that deep down, Malachi’s parents believed that they were acting out of love. I’m not sure if that makes their treatment of Malachi more or less difficult to read.
The book also highlights the impact of Malachi’s treatment on the rest of his family, particularly his brother and sister. We see how their relationship is influenced by the behaviour of Malachi’s parents and how their opinions change as the story develops. The story progresses from one of fear and denial to one of acceptance and love.
Malachi’s journey is complex and emotional, and I found myself not always agreeing with his thoughts and opinions. But for me, that made the book, and Malachi’s character, more real and whilst I didn’t always share his opinions, it didn’t stop me from being able to empathise with his plight.
I highly recommend this book. It is a gripping story of faith, power and acceptance that we can all learn something from.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. It is available on Amazon.