Book Reviews

Amazon reviews


5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book.

Reviewed in the United States on June 22, 2021

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I found this book to be so compelling I finished it in a day and half. I was so moved by Mr. Gavins’s story of love for a fellow student resulting in monstrous abuse by Catholic priests and doctors. The book is about the writer’s lifelong process of uncovering and healing from the wounds of Aversion Therapy. The psychological torture, the physical torture of electro shock therapy, the cruelty of it, how Mr. Gavins’s brain attempted to shield him from the horror of it, how he worked to unravel and recover from all of it… It’s very powerful. I recommend this book to every gay man I know.


Traveling Librarian

5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just Anybody

Reviewed in the United States on September 14, 2020

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Only a person who has experienced aversion therapy could qualify to tell this story. Without the experience, the telling would be, at best, just a guess. Jeremy is the expert here, and I respect his journey—at once tragic and tenacious, yet redemptive. I am glad that I read this book.


The Diesel-Electric Elephant Company

5.0 out of 5 stars Staggeringly poignant, well-written and emotionally-charged.

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 27, 2020

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A great read and an exposé of the treatment meted out by the Establishment, by mainstream religion and by families that, at best, just knew no better, and at worst just didn't care. The story of a good life built both in spite of and because of this barbaric mistreatment, it is both a depressing read and also a thoroughly hopeful one.

If, like me, you lived in those times it will remind you of the isolation and helplessness often experienced when family, employers, colleagues, the entirety of the police force, and every scraggy-rag tabloid newspaper were arrayed against you - backed up by "The Law of The Land". This gentleman copped some of the worst of it.

Reads well, formatting is without problem, and you really can't complain at the one or two trans-Atlantic spellings. Highly recommended.



3.0 out of 5 stars A true story about a shocking medical practice

Reviewed in the United States on October 3, 2019

I was gripped from beginning to end by this true story, a very moving account of aversion therapy in the 1970's. Very sobering thinking for the medical profession that this sort of treatment was allowed for what we now regard as normal behaviour. But times have thankfully changed! But what lingers on is the subsequent trauma which takes years to deal with. This book comprehensively spans those years and this is what makes it such compelling reading. It is no superficial snapshot but a true life story with an unusual twist at the end.


Amazon Customer

4.0 out of 5 stars Good and at times disturbing.

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 13, 2019

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A real disturbing ordeal experienced by too many men in what could only be described as a dark ages in medical history and not helped with the religious ignorance in this and I suspect many other cases...Not an easy read at times but an essential read for anyone interested in Gay history.




5.0 out of 5 stars Jarring and heartbreaking, but also engaging and funny

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 8 January 2019

Read it in one night, couldn't put it down!

It's hard to believe that the things described in this book happened within most people's lifetime, but it's important to remember that they did so they don't happen again. Historically important, definitely a must read.


Jean F.

5.0 out of 5 stars current topic

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 September 2018

this excellent book is so current at this time. Jeremy's writing about such a shocking subject is deep, yet presented in a humorous, grounded manner.


M. Heard

5.0 out of 5 stars Gay, straight or not defined by a label.. this is a book we should all read.

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 26, 2018

Verified Purchase

By the end of the first chapter I knew that this was one of those books that would put my life on hold until it was finished.
It is an important book that should be on a best seller list, not only for its' shocking content, if you excuse the pun, but also for the honest engaging style in which it is written. It will stay with me for a long time.



5.0 out of 5 stars A must read

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 27, 2018

Verified Purchase

A boy is subjected to the barbaric use of aversion therapy because at a time when he was upset and in need of comfort, he told his Catholic teacher he loved another boy.

Jeremy takes us on a fascinating journey through his life; the lasting impact of the ‘therapy’/abuse; the confusion and pain he was left to deal with and how eventually he found peace.

This is one of those books you can’t put down. It’s a must read for anyone but for those interested in mental health, this book is a powerful illustration of treatment that harms and treatment that heals.


Amazon Customer

5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 3, 2018

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Fascinating book-would recommend it on lots of levels. It is horrific that a teenage boy could be given painful electric shocks to "cure" him from being gay. But surprisingly it isn't a depressing book. It is a story of friendships, and never giving up, and the beauties of the lake district. It even has a happy ending! Health professionals should also read it as a reminder of the basic principle "first do no harm".


Review written in the July copy of Ulverston Now

       The author calls this book a memoir, and indeed it is the story of one man’s life so far. However it is much more than that, since it is a book which shows that you should never judge anyoneby the face they showto the world or the way they live their outer lives.

       Many locals will know Jeremy Gavins as Jerry, the no-nonsense go-to dry stone waller, and will be moved by his breath-taking honesty as he reveals the terrible traumas he suffered as a boy, and the lasting effect they have had on his life. As a gay teenager in a Catholic-run school he fell in love with Stephen, a fellow pupil, who returned his feelings.When Jeremy was in tears at the thought of their inevitable separation after they had left school, he told a teacher, who was also a priest, the reason for his grief. The school then blackmailed him with the threat of expulsion and exposureinto having ‘Aversion Therapy’ at a psychiatric hospital.

       This therapy was electric shocks, the kind of torture banned by the Geneva Convention, and which left him with lasting damage to his mind and body, damage he has struggled with ever since to deal with.

       Yet this is not a ‘misery memoir’: it is also full of descriptions of how walking in the mountains, nature and the discovery of his natural ability at dry stone walling has helped him cope. Jeremy also describes the therapies he has tried, and explains the concepts of Dissonance, PTSD and Body Memories in a way which is easy to understand. He is also truthful about how, like many men, he tried to deal with his depression by drinking, and about his suicidal thoughts.

       Although his individual experience is unique, this is a very timely book when we are becoming more aware of how widespread mental health issues are. Other men, who may not be gay, but also suffer from the effects of trauma and try to hide this because they are ashamed, can read this and realise that other outwardly ‘normal’ men have similar problems.

       Jeremy Gavins shows that courage takes many forms, and that for a man to reveal his inner  is as brave as facing any physical danger. As a footnote, he was instrumental in gaining an apology from the Royal College of Psychiatry for the use of ‘aversion therapy’ on gay men and women.


Molly Platts on Facebook July 2018

Read the book “Is it about that boy? . . . I could not put it down. It would be an excellent book for every municipal library, college or university library or church library. This book is a memoir and the author is very honest about his experiences. It really helps the reader have a better understanding of the trauma that aversion therapy causesin a person’s life. Thankfully it is not used in my country (Canada) but it needs to be stopped in some other countries as it is completely unnecessary and very cruel both physically, emotionally and mentally.



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