Debuting on its first day of release on April 27, 2019 as the #1 Bestseller on Amazon’s New Releases in Gay Studies, my memoir’s First Edition is currently available in both Hardcover and eBook formats. Hardcover retails at $28.95. The eBook will remain on sale at $4.99 through Friday, July 4thonly.Both the eBook and Hardcover can be purchased at all online booksellers.
In addition, to celebrate Gay Pride Month, the Hardcover version of my book can be purchased at the discounted price of $25 on my author’s website at KerryAshton.com.
Thus far the book has received unanimous critical acclaim in all of its Editorial Reviews. Clarion Books, for example, praised it as “A triumphant memoir!” Blueink Reviews hailed it as “A powerful and detailed memoir” while exclaiming, “Ashton is a passionate, unfailingly candid narrator. Using vivid detail, he crafts absorbing scenes… giving us a compelling look at being gay in a community that seed this as a source of shame—a record of one man’s hurt and healing, while those with similar stories have yet to speak of their pain.” The Online Book Club Reviews said, “Ashton exposes the innermost parts of his psyche. A touching story with a strong senses of authenticity. An immersive experience!” And Kirkus Reviews, the foremost authority in the publishing industry, gave the memoir a rave review, calling it “A riveting story, alternating between the troubled child he was, and the proud, openly gay man that he became. A moving coming-out story!”
The first paragraph of my new memoir explains a lot:
“I told this story once as fiction in the 1980s, but this time I tell the truth. I even tell the truth, in #MeToo fashion, about being violently raped by another man when I was 18, with a knife held to my throat—a secret I kept from everyone, including myself, for over 40 years. The rape, like other experiences I endured while a student at Brigham Young University, where I came out in the early 1970s, had a profound impact on my later life. But this story is not so much about my rape or my coming of age at BYU, as it is about the lifelong effects of shame itself, not only about how I internalized and inherited a wounding shame from my Mormon upbringing, but also how I eventually unshamed myself. It is about the journey of a lifetime, finding spiritual growth, self-discovery and healing along the way, while encountering many miraculous events that pushed me forward through darkness toward the light.”
Telling about my experiences during my four years at BYU—the rape, falling in love for the first time, police surveillance, harassment and arrest, while enduring three years of conversion therapy, including two years of electroshock treatments—provide the structure of my memoir. But intermittently I also share memories from my childhood, growing up Mormon in Pocatello, Idaho, and later from my adulthood. In one episode, I talk about his mother’s passing, and how I unconsciously blamed myself for her death. In others, I describe some of the battles with my religious father, and how Dad and I eventually came to forgive each other. These stories, like many others shared in the book, are poignant. Some—like the description that I provide of my rape—are sexually graphic. Some stories are hilarious. And some are dramatic, like those dealing with the domestic violence that I endured as a child.
I also share memories from my professional career as an actor and writer, both in L.A. and NYC, describing personal encounters with stars like Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis and Julie Harris, while sharing my experiences with famed writers Tennessee Williams, James Leo Herlihy (author of MIDNIGHT COWBOY), and John Rechy (author of THE SEXUAL OUTLAW), as well as my brief but profound affair with Stephen Sondheim.
Lastly, I talk about the 12 years I spent in therapy, about my16-year battle with a rare and disabling cancer only recently won, and about my sexual journey that led me through S&M, kinky sex, and the leather scene, to the loving monogamous relationship I now enjoy.Most of all, I explain how I rid myself of most of the shame I internalized as a child in the Mormon faith, becoming a SAINT UNSHAMED, and how I fought for and embraced my gay pride.