Author of SARAH and THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS
Unquestionably a survivor of sexual and physical abuse, JT's writing is unconventional- at least when compared to memoirs of abuse. His (or her) sex is up in the air (JT Leroy is a psuedonym) and he declines to have his face photographed.
SARAH is a work of trangressive fiction. It's the story of Cherry Vanilla, an adolescent wannabe lot lizzard (truck stop prostitute) and his encounters while aspiring to be the best whore in all of West Virginia. Anyone who has had sexual identity issues will resonate with the conflicting genders and expectations of the characters. It is irreverent, gut wrenching, trigger-laden, satirical and hilarious at times. It's a great work of literature, but it's NOT something that will make you feel good.
From the back cover:
A rare bird indeed: a work that manages to be so fresh, sad and utterly enchanting.. while the book may be grounded in fact, it reads like pure fantasy
THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS is his second book, a collection of short stories that are more autobiographical than SARAH.
You can see JT developing more sophisticated story structures in this one.
Stories that stand out: COAL, about a kid discovering a meth lab in the basement and the paranoid delusions of his mother as they flee their newly burning home. METEORS, where the mother hits her child with rocks on the head in the hopes of marrying a park service employee. And NATOMA STREET, about JT on the street in San Francisco and his visit with a dominator-for-hire.
Again, this book should be taken in small quantities.
His work is somewhat inspirational for me, in the sense that we were both born in 1980.