18 Classics of LGBTQ Literature

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6. The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Like Ijeoma in Under the Udala Trees, Cameron Post’s story is marred by family tragedy and homophobia that has worked itself deep into society. However, Cameron’s experiences take place in rural Montana, though both her and Ijeoma’s quest to build lives based on inner truth remains similar.

Cameron’s family is deeply changed by a car crash that kills both her mother and her father. Twelve-year-old Cameron then lives with her deeply conservative aunt Ruth and her grandmother in Miles City, Montana.

In the time after the tragedy, Cameron develops a relationship with her best friend. Their friendship soon develops romantic overtones, which then leads to Cameron’s outing. Her relatives are horrified. In an attempt to “correct” her behavior, they send Cameron to Promise, a camp that uses conversion therapy to teach its attendees “appropriate gender roles”.

Cameron isn’t giving up without a fight, though. The rest of the novel details her time at Promise and her efforts to resist counselor’s’ attempts at conversion therapy. Though, like Ijeoma, she faces ingrained prejudice and religious attempts at conversion, Cameron fights to live a life best suited to her own truth. YA novelist Malinda Lo said that author E.M. Danforth’s writing style is “multilayered in the best way, with a gradual, deliberate accretion of details that creates a resonant whole.”