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Sarah by J. T. LeRoy

Sarah (2000)

by J. T. LeRoy

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
A fascinating, disturbing and odd story of teenage, cross-dressing prostitutes at trucks stops in West Virginia. Aside from the disappointing backstory involving the author's true identity, the book ended on a weak note, with psuedo-redemption, but nonetheless, was a head-scratcher. Not sure how I made it through the entire book, but overall it was an interesting read that I finished in about three hours. ( )
  jazzyereader | Apr 16, 2011 |
Quelle Vois ! wow ! ( )
  oogumboogum | Jul 12, 2010 |
This book blew me away when I first read it back in 2002. This account of a horrible life as a child prostitute along American highways, written not as the black story of opression it actually is, but as a sort of starry eyed, twisted fairytale, wasn't quite like anything I had ever read before. It was, as someone put it, like reading the story of Alice in the wrong Wonderland, a world where jackalopes and penis bones of raccoons give you magic powers, where pimps are kings and magicians and where the "lot lizards" and she-males are knights in shining armour. And this without shying away from the violence and horror of that environment. That the book claimed to be partly autobiographical made the tone of it even more a wonder. How was it possible to describe an upbringing like that in such a way???

Since then JT LeRoy has been outed as a literary persona, and I was afraid this would affect my reading of it. I read LeRoy's other "autobiographical" novel The heart is decietful above all things after the unveiling of the hoax, and that book felt speculative and cold to me, leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

Sarah, while behaps not knocking me out this time (lowered the rating by half a star) fares much better, and I think it has to do with the fairytale element of it. It's a strange and at times disturbing book this, but there are also elements of sweetness and quirkyness in there. It remains a book unlike any other, even without the autobiographical claim. ( )
  GingerbreadMan | Sep 1, 2009 |
Disturbing and fascinating with an excellent grasp on slang and mannerisms, but lacking a narrative that compels outside of the shock value. Not that the shock value is bad, per se, it just didn't feel like a means to an end. Some sections were a little haphazard, and while the characterization is the strong point, the actual plot lags behind the limited character growth. Pooh and Sarah/Sam's interaction is among some of the strongest and simultaneously weakest in the novel, with similar issues between Sarah/Sam and his various pimps. Interesting, though, and excellent use of the disturbing to find something resembling beauty in a putrid swamp of disease, whores, greed and Barbies. ( )
1 vote annenoise | Jun 5, 2009 |
When I first read the novel years ago, the LeRoy hoax was in full bloom; "JT" was even selling replica 'coon-bone charms on his website. Every effort was made to make this seem like a slightly-fictionalized autobiography.

I fell for it. I found the book very touching and I was impressed. Impressed that an author at most a year younger than myself published to such critical acclaim. Impressed by the courage it took to bare his soul in such a way. And, embarassingly, I had a bit of a nerdy reader-crush on him.

Against my better judgment, I reread it recently, knowing full well that "JT" was a lie. Without the rose-coloured glasses of the hoax, the novel is shallow crap. The surreality seems forced, the subject matter and themes exploitative. It no longer has a shred of honesty. I suppose it never did in the first place.

Am I angry? Yeah, a bit. Mostly due to the position that Laura Albert has taken about any negative fan reaction to her hoax. It seems as though she thinks the only appropriate reaction to the hoax's exposure is reverent clapping or Beatnik finger snaps, and that any resentment for having been taken on a ride is evidence of a deep character flaw in the disgruntled reader.

I'd give one star, but I did enjoy the book once upon a time. So, two. ( )
4 vote CKmtl | Jan 24, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. T. LeRoyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Testa, MartinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Glad hält mir den Waschbärknochen über den Kopf wie einen Heiligenschein.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 158234146X, Paperback)

The national bestselling first novel by a virtuosic young talent.

Cherry Vanilla, twelve years old with a penchant for short leather skirts and make-up, has one dream: to become the most famous 'lot lizard', or truck stop whore, in the business. With his blond curls and his naked ambition he is determined to be more woman than most, and to match his idol, rival, and mother, Sarah. Adopting her name and sex, he heads off into the dangerous and fantastic worlds pocketed away in the West Virginian wilds. On his journey for fame he meets with sinister pimps, luck-restoring Jack-a-lopes, superstitious prostitutes who take him for a saint, and a host of bizarre and beautiful outcasts that make up his unusual, heartbreaking world.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:08 -0400)

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