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Sarah Hardcover – 1 Apr 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1 Apr 2000
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582340765
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582340760
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 1.9 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 862,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


A deft and imaginative...novel (New York Times Book Review)

LeRoy's work is a startling achievement in his accelerating mastery of the literary form (Publishers Weekly)

Extraordinarily, LeRoy manages to lace this story with tenderness and humour. Not for the fainthearted, these few raw pages constitute a breathtaking debut (Guardian)

Sarah has a strong seductive quality, and it is impossible to forget. LeRoy's ability to present trauma and tenderness simultaneously is entirely his own. 'This book is nothing short of a miracle,' LeRoy has said. I have to agree (New Statesman)

Extraordinary. LeRoy writes with astonishing flair and confidence, making Sarah a very impressive debut indeed (Sunday Telegraph)

Sarah is surprising, upsetting, offensive, and fun. It's everything a good read - or good sex for that matter - should be (Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club)

Like a cross between Nathanael West and Mark Twain, drunk out of their minds and collaborating on Charlie's Angels meets The Headless Horseman - Sarah is a wildly comic tour de force and a brilliant debut (Mary Gaitskill, author of Two Girls, Fat and Thin)

JT LeRoy is one of the most interesting, passionate and gifted of writers, very few have his heart and courage. I admire his writing tremendously (Lou Reed (The Velvet Underground))

LeRoy brushed achingly close to duplicating Genet's legerdemain - mythologizing self-abasement so as to transform it into glorious apotheosis (New York Times)

I have just finished reading Sarah and found it incredible, very moving, very sad and very beautiful (PJ Harvey)

Sarah is weird, darkly funny and haunting. JT LeRoy has a gift, to be able to articulate his world so clearly and astringently, with grace and humor, but without glossing over the pain and brutality of it (Suzanne Vega)

Remarkable (Diva magazine) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A reissue of the bestselling novel by JT LeRoy/Laura Albert - published to coincide with the new Jeff Feuerzeig documentary: Author: The JT LeRoy Story, which will have a theatrical release in July 2016. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Despite having just published his first book, JT LeRoy has become one of those new authors who make headlines far beyond the literary ghettoes. The rave reviews of Sarah aren't just limited to his side of the Atlantic, either. Here in England, even the staunchly conservative Telegraph has lauded his first novel as a 'tour de force'. Sarah is a droll stunner of a novel. Set in the Virginian hinterland of wild woods and wild sexual diversity, the novel dreams its way through the life of the eponymous hero Sarah - a male/female prostitute, serving the carnal desires of lonely truck drivers.
The book never strays into the sentimental formula of the usual 'other-than-heterosexual' novel. LeRoy writes without the usual agenda associated with trans-gender/trans-sexual literature. He concentrates on narrative rather than clichéd politics, and weaves an oblique little fantasy that envelopes from the first sentence to the last. His is a world where an ultra modern, ultra savvy Dorothy enters a perverse land of Oz, surviving on guile and - despite the squalor and depravity he/she is forced to endure - a peculiar and endearing sort of innocence.
His ear is acute to the rhythms of the region he describes. Each character breathes a kind of fire from the page. The lonely and the desperate resort to all manner of subterfuge to disguise their predicaments, but their real natures come across in the delicate way LeRoy describes them.
What could be an unremittingly bleak little novel is peppered with great comic moments and a pathos that never strays into the mawkish. LeRoy is a fearsome writer whose reputation will continue to grow far beyond this debut.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Personally I came to this book having missed (being in the UK) all the hype and subsequent backlash. So I treated the book as a work of fiction. I thought it was very very good. To me it was in the traditional of many southern writers (I know Albert is not genuinely southern but who cares) with a dark gothic but also comedic surrealness that made it more than a story of a child prostitute. The use of religious imagary, weird strange characters, backwood setting, good vs evil only add to this feel. Similar themes to what you would find in books by writers I love like Harry Crews, Larry Brown or William Gay.
The book, although dealing with a very disturbing subject, avoids being too graphic early on and the humour helps to dilute the nastiness of the situation Cherry/Sarah/Sam is in. The story is fairly simplistic - a naive child frustrated by being held back by those trying to look out for her (relatively speaking) inadvertantly wanders into a much more dangerous situation. There then follows a battle of sorts between good (again relatively speaking) and evil. The story then takes on elements of religeous fanaticism and charlatanisem before it becomes nastier in feel as Charry/Sarah/Sam's situation really worsens.
I feel the author has shot herself in the foot by not just admitting it was a work of fiction. Had she admitted it was fiction it is possible that this book would have become a cult classic over time. I think the problem with her claims that JT Leroy was real and the subsequent charade that ensued left people feeling cheated and foolish and no one likes to feel like that (look at the tags in on the US Amazon site - scam, faker, lame, dishonest). I also think the publicity brought many people to this book who would not have normally read a book like this with such a subject matter.
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Format: Paperback
I read "Sarah" several months ago, and the story still haunts me. The tale is wonderful and awful at the same time, telling about a sweet-natured boy who simply accepts a tough way of life. His mother, who had him when she was only 14 herself, often dressed him in girl's clothing and took him along with her when she serviced truck drivers. The most bittersweet part is how much he needs the love and affection that his mother was unable to give him. I also love the authenticity of the book, set in West Virginia. The language thrilled me. And it is so descriptive, I could visualize the scenes. This writer is extraordinary. I wish there were a sequel. I want to read more by author J.T. LeRoy. When a second book does come out, you'll see me lined up at the bookstore along with a lot of other fans. .
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Format: Paperback
I came to this book with high expectations, based largely on the many glowing review it's had over the last couple of years. But right from the beginning I was disappointed. The much-vaunted 'original' prose style is really not that original, but really IS quite irritating. The 'voice' of the main character is a great big muddle, simultaneously knowing and naive, ignorant and oddly well-informed. The plot is predictable and most of the characters pretty one-dimensional. Really, I can't see what the fuss was about. This was a book I couldn't wait to finish - so I could start reading something else!
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By Cheryl M-M TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 Aug. 2016
Format: Paperback
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 she is the raunchy cherry on the top of the sexual sundae and towards the end he is just himself.
For Sarah/Sam everything he does leads back to Sarah the mother and Sarah the hooker. There is a constant need for acceptance, love and acknowledgement. The neglected child resurfaces over and over again, despite the fact the mother doesn’t acknowledge their biological relationship.
A sleazy tale of abuse via Sarah’s johns emerges, which eventually leads to him working in the same industry as her. As a reader I felt pity for the behaviour he has to endure. He is so desperate for any kind of attention from her that he even misses the insults when she is gone. A sad little boy who only knows the affection of truckers in need of sexual gratification.
It is a bit of an oddball read, but I really enjoyed it. LeRoy is a breath of fresh air, albeit one that is tainted by the sordid world of prostitution.
Unlike many other reviewers my review is based solely on the book I have read and not on the bizarre story of the pseudo writer and the actual writer behind the pseudonym.
*I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.*
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