When I Was Red Clay: A Journey of Identity, Healing, and Wonder

Torrey House. Aug. 2022. 176p. ISBN 9781948814638. pap. $16.95. MEMOIR
Bailey, a gay ex-Mormon and advocate for conservation and climate control, weaves a beautiful tapestry of dignity and respect for mankind and nature in his memoir. When Bailey left the LDS Church, he did not find God in the wilderness. He found something much more powerful: the majesty of nature and its ability to provide peace many people never discover. Touching on current events and topics, from conservation and immigration to suicide and autism, Bailey has penned a thought-provoking memoir. Questioning his sexuality, his faith, and whether peace and disorder can coexist, Bailey seeks to find healing and connection and takes readers on his intimate journey. With a narrative told through free verse, prose, journal entries, and love letters, this is one man’s attempt to reconcile childhood traumas through the presence of spirit found in nature. The wilderness of deserts in Utah and Arizona are their own characters in this beautiful book. This immersive experience is one part travel guide and guidebook to native plants and one part exploration of kinship between the human spirit and the Earth.
VERDICT Readers will find hope and peace on these beautifully written pages.
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