This week has seen the unmasking of JT Leroy, who is, in fact, not a mommy-pimped cross-dressing lit sensation, but an entirely fabricated character created by two writers, and was portrayed in public by a woman (not the man "he" purported to be). "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things," indeed.
Mr. Leroy's tale was harrowing in its details and uplifting in its arc. He was a young truck-stop prostitute who had escaped rural West Virginia for the dismal life of a homeless San Francisco drug addict. Rescued as a young teenager by a couple named Laura Albert and Geoffrey Knoop and treated by a psychologist, he was able to turn his terrible youth into a thriving career as a writer. JT Leroy has published three critically acclaimed works of fiction noted for their stark portrayal of child prostitution and drug use.
Also, James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces" is found to be full of a million little exaggerations and fabrications. The scariest part is, he LIED TO OPRAH, on her show, and now she will probably have him whacked.
Police reports, court records, interviews with law enforcement personnel, and other sources have put the lie to many key sections of Frey's book. The 36-year-old author, these documents and interviews show, wholly fabricated or wildly embellished details of his purported criminal career, jail terms, and status as an outlaw "wanted in three states." In additon to these rap sheet creations, Frey also invented a role for himself in a deadly train accident that cost the lives of two female high school students. In what may be his book's most crass flight from reality, Frey remarkably appropriates and manipulates details of the incident so he can falsely portray himself as the tragedy's third victim.