Sarah

JT Le Roy, Author, J. T. LeRoy, Author Bloomsbury Publishing PLC $19.95 (160p) ISBN 978-1-58234-076-0
Who would have thought that there were so many truckstop devotees of cross-dressing children in West Virginia? In this disturbing debut novel by 19-year-old LeRoy, they appear to be everywhere. The narrator, a 12-year-old boy, has renamed himself Sarah after his whorish mother because he has learned from her example that ""Most anything you want in this world is easier when you're a pretty girl."" Following in her footsteps, he plies his trade at the Doves, a truckstop/gourmet restaurant run by Glad, a despotic pimp with a heart of gold. When his mother rejects him, Sarah runs away from the Doves and finds his way to the hellish Three Crutches, a rival truckstop run by the evil Le Loup. Taken for a girl, and then advertised as Saint Sarah in a money-making ploy by Le Loup, Sarah is expected to bless truckers and then walk on water. Will these experiences convince Sarah to resume the life of a full-time boy? And will he discover that there's no place like home? Sometimes Sarah's masochistic attention-getting strategies and desperate need to be loved are genuinely moving, but the freak-show world LeRoy conjures up never quite gels. In the self-consciously bizarre gallery of misfits and fetishes he assembles, potentially resonant themes like the interchangeability of saints and whores are obscured, and the novel remains but a curiosity. (Apr.) FYI: LeRoy has edited several anthologies under the pseudonym Terminator.
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
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