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3.47  ·  Rating details ·  3,790 ratings  ·  296 reviews
The narrator, an androgynous twelve-year-old boy, idolizes his mother Sarah, a 'lot lizard', or truck-stop whore. Adopting her name, and pretending to be a girl, 'Sarah' stumbles into dangerous and fantastic worlds pocketed away in the West Virginian wilds. He hitches a ride to the famous luck-restoring Jackalope, is mistaken for a saint and must prove himself by walking o ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published August 4th 2016 by Corsair (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,790 ratings  ·  296 reviews

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MJ Nicholls
Feb 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Correspondents, #1

Dear J T Leroy,

I am your biggest fandangle. I love how you wrote those two books about child abuse under a fake name. I love how you paid a boring Brooklyn writer to pretend to be you to make the shitty shit more real. When I was a child I too hung around trailer park hookers and helped perform fellatio on beer-sodden belliferous brutes. (I didn’t really, but hey!) I like how your books are written at a level children can understand and from the POV of kids, because if ther
Sam Quixote
Jun 08, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The strange thing about JT LeRoy’s Sarah is that the story of the author is far more interesting than the story she writes in this novel - it’s almost always the other way around! JT (“Jeremiah Terminator” - I guess the name should’ve been a giveaway) was a transgender woman who grew up as an abused, drug-addicted teenage boy prostitute in the South and Sarah was her heavily autobiographical debut novel.

But after six years of this charade, the hoax that was JT LeRoy was uncovered in a 2005 expo
Dec 27, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I doubt this book would have anything of the modest cult reputation it briefly enjoyed if it weren't for the myth of JT LeRoy that lent it some very dubious "authenticity." It's not that there isn't a compelling story here: mother/son dependency, sexual exploitation, transgendering---hey, it could have been something amazing had the author had any concern whatsoever for the writing and not in manufacturing a "legend" of a life story. But now that LeRoy has been debunked as a fraud, the attention ...more
Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have blogged about the whole J.T. Leroy/Savannah Knoop/Laura Albert controversy (read: literary hoax) recently and in the past. I find much of the chicanerie and lying resorted to by Albert and Knoop (to advance Albert's publishing agenda) to have been grossly offensive. A particularly awful component of the charade was the fact that Albert told writers whom she needed things from that J.T. was suffering from AIDS. That's really, really low.

That much said, I'm conflicted, because Albert has c
Emm C²
(I'm glad I missed out on the J.T. LeRoy hoax. So let's completely ignore that.)

Sarah is about Cherry Vanilla , a boy so desperate for love, any inkling of something that resembles love, that he will go to any lengths for it. Especially from his brash, neglectful mother, Sarah.
Sarah who slaps him across the face. Sarah who used to dress him as a girl to help her steal from the supermarket. Sarah who abandons him for months at a time all throughout the rural States...

But she always comes back,
Monica Lee Floyd
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When this book first came out, everyone was raving about it. It was touted as the true story of a boy whose mother was a truck stop hooker and drug addict, who groomed him to work in the "family business" at a very young age. It's haunting and beautifully written. Once you read it, you can't forget it.

JT Leroy became an instant celebrity. Everyone wanted to interview him, and because of his strange upbringing, he felt more comfortable dressing as a girl during his appearances. No problem there,
Jan 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Josh by: Carol
Say what you will about the controversy surrounding the whole "JT LeRoy" thing, but I liked this book quite a bit. It had that weird, dark, funny, mystical, fractured undercurrent that is my favorite part about William S. Burroughs, it had a touch of magic to it, and the author really had the power to make you understand the sexuality of something you will (God willing) never Know (in the Biblical sense). It was also extremely short, which I think was very appropriate given the subject matter. A ...more
Lord Beardsley
Dec 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2008
After reading this book the second time around, I have to say I truly appreciated the dark humor as well as the magical, dark realism of the characters and setting. It's a book that stays with you after reading it, and overall I found it a thoroughly engaging story. I just wish the other stories that came after this one didn't go down the road of "memoiresque" victim fic. I appreciate the weird world created in this, and after reading it I felt that the following stories should have taken a more ...more
Cat Baron
Apr 28, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I got through this book twice! The second time I ripped each page into many small pieces. This is quite possibly the worst book I have ever read. Strike that, take out the possibly.
Becca Malcolm
The story behind the author is 100 x’s more fascinating than the actual book.
Jul 22, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was so excited about reading this. It just seemed such an odd, sick kind of book, with a cult reputation - the kind that particularly appeals to me. I had read that it was a semi-autobiographical account of the author's life, and this spurred me into acquiring the book as quickly as I could. However, it seems that the author of this book is in actual fact a woman who has never experienced any of these things! How fraudulent. I even skipped this one past other books in my 'to be read' list just ...more
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very well remember the controversy around this book in the early 2000's with the unmasking of the hoax in 2006 by New York Magazine and the New York times -- for more information on the fraud/hoax about the author:
The woman who sold the film rights to the book was subsequently sued for fraud and had to pay damages. And the woman she paid to "appear" as the author, wrote her own book in 2008. The more serious damage I think resides with both the transgen
Jul 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: almodovar fans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drugs, gay-agenda, brutal
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 ...more
musa b-n
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Pretty bad! Would not recommend! Lots of cw's necessary
May 11, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I only managed to finish this book because it is so short...
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Between the covers: Have you ever stopped to eat dinner at a truck stop restaurant in West Virginia, where dinner with the extended family appears to be Friday night out? Or looked out the car window while passing through the Blue Ridge Mountains and imagined an alternative life? "Sarah" paints a strange nighmarish dreamscape far beyond what most could imagine.

The dialect, dialogue, protagonist, antagonist, the characters and their relationships, the pacing, then the action. All of these eleme
Feb 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I finally decided to read this much-lauded piece of cult fiction recently and I have to say I’m so glad I did. I can now call myself a J.T. LeRoy fan, folks.

This is the story of Cherry Vanilla, a teen transsexual trucker prostitute. This amazing story takes place in two separate truck stops in West Virginia. At first I found the reading of this book daunting because of the local hillbilly dialect it’s written in, but after you get through that hurdle, an amazing story starts to unfold before you
Maggy Eijk
The boy, through spit-wet eyes, told him a tale of love

My boyfriend read this a few days before me, closed it and upon being asked what he thought replied: "just read it". I did and I later found out it was the best book ever read. I quickly came to share his opinion.

Sarah is a first person account of Cherry Vanilla, a twelve year old boy, who wants more than anything to become the best "lot lizard" there is. In his quest to attain fame as a truck stop whore he leaves the home he has become use
Cheryl M-M
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is an unusual but strangely compelling read. It’s as if the world of truck stop prostitution exists as a solitary planet in the universe called earth. To the so-called lizards it is the only life they know and nothing seems to be able to penetrate the bubble of pay as you go sexual relations.

Sarah, Cherry Vanilla or Sam are all one and the same person, who he or she is depends on the situation and environment they find themselves in. Sometimes she is the pretty little girl mirage, sometimes s
Christey Foster
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Zuky the BookBum
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, 4-stars
Also read my review here:

Wow I don't know what to say really.

I think that most people rating this book have judged it based on the author's hoax at claiming this was a true story but if you ignore all that mess, what you find here is a really weird, heart breaking and hilarious novel. I think people need to start looking at this as a stand-alone novel and push the whole scandal to the side to see how brilliant this book actually is.

I wasn't sure why I de
Dec 17, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The history behind this book is what drew me to reading it. It is perhaps the greatest Hollywood-ization of an ghostwriter. J.T. LeRoy was marketed as a teenager on the Hollywood scene, even making friends with writers such as Susie Bright and showing up in photos with celebrities. J.T. LeRoy is non-other than a 40 year old woman with a great imagination. However, as a society we are like middle America drawn to cashmere at Old Navy when it comes to reading about other peoples misfortune. It's w ...more
Daniel Levesque
Laura Albert needs to write a tell-all now. Savannah Knoop's book didn't cut it for me. Laura owes us one. Sarah is a good great book. It's unfortunate it went down the way it did. Now it's easier to be mad at Laura for telling reprehensible lies to get ahead than it is to admit that this was a beautifully written book. Going on the written word alone, this is a damn good book. Even the biggest haters have to admit that it was, at one time, possibly their favorite book.
Shannon Stevens
Nov 20, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By far my favorite tale of teenage cross-dressing truck stop prostitution.
Dull, never thought I'd say that about abused underaged prostitutes but this book is dreary and meh...
I did like this, it was unusual and it resonates. I gave less stars for of how I felt uneasy (well of course I should have).
Sybil Lamb
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know a dozen or more former teen tranz sex worker run away juvies who love this stupid fugging book. I mean 20 years ago when this came out, now many teen tranz sex worker run aways had books.

Now In 2018 there is at least a dozen. Im pretty sure this couldnt have happened unless jtleroy and her lit connctions (no names....) broke that trail for us. JT Leroy is real and I know a few 100% dead ringers. I cant thank you for that, It's just not an appropriate time in this trumpity civil war slow p
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Fuck, I wish she'd kept writing—had some real talent on her...
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Laura Victoria Albert is the author of writings that include works credited to the fictional teenage persona of JT LeRoy, a long-running literary hoax in which LeRoy was presented to the public and publishers as a gender-variant, sexually questioning, abused, former homeless drug addict and male prostitute. Albert described LeRoy as an “avatar” rather than a “hoax,” and claimed that she was able t ...more

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