‘Author: The JT LeRoy Story’ Shows The True Story Behind A Literary Hoax: BUST Review

by BUST Magazine
Author: The JT LeRoy Story
Directed by Jeff Feuerzeig 
Out September 9
Rating: 4/5

Reclusive author JT LeRoy became a literary sensation in 1999 when his debut novel, Sarah, and his follow-up, The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, captured the imagination of the counterculture. A teen prodigy who turned his sordid past of drugs and rural prostitution into creative treasure, JT was befriended by celebrities and courted by Hollywood for years. But the cult phenomenon came crashing down in 2005 when New York magazine revealed that the novels were actually written by a 40-year-old San Francisco phone-sex operator named Laura Albert. In the fascinating documentary Author: The JT LeRoy Story, Albert finally tells her side of the saga, proving that in her case, the truth really is stranger than fiction.

Albert provides so much incredible primary-source material to support her wild tale of success and scorn, one might suppose she’s been preparing all her life for such a documentary to be made. Revealing photos of her fucked-up childhood and heart-wrenching home-movie footage flow seamlessly into audio recordings of phone conversations her alter-ego “JT” had with his therapist, his literary idols, his publishers, and his high-profile friends, including Courtney Love, Billy Corgan, and Gus Van Sant. Beneath all the subterfuge, however, the heart of this tale belongs to a woman who convinced herself that the world would be kinder to her if she were a beautiful, enigmatic boy. And when all is said and done, sadly, it seems she may have been right.

Emily Rems

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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