Maybe it’s just my contrary nature that has made me avoid all of JT Leroy’s novels, and my innate hatred of macho exaggeration is what helped me steer clear of James Frey’s memoir recently endorsed by Oprah. Or maybe… I knew all along that they were both frauds! No, I think it’s the fact that I’ve been reading the same (really long) book since last year, and my progress has slowed since I no longer ride the subway.
James Frey is the fratboy who wrote A Million Little Pieces, a “true” story about jail, drugs, hard times, and lots of vomit. According to a six-page report published Sunday on The Smoking Gun, much of his jailtime accounts were exaggerated or even outright fabricated, and he falsely linked himself to the deaths of two teenage girls who barely knew him. (via Salon.com) I wonder if these revelations will slow the steady parade of women who think they are sleeping with a bad boy.
Relatedly, author JT Leroy has been revealed to be a middle-aged lady who had her sister-in-law pose as the author in public, often wearing the signature blonde wig and large sunglasses. The possibility of Leroy being a fake was first introduced in an October New York Magazine article, and has now been confirmed with some investigative reporting by The New York Times.
It’s hard to figure out where to begin when describing the scale of this fraud. Laura Albert, the woman behind JT, elicited sympathy from countless high profile celebrities (including Courtney Love and Carrie Fisher!) by announcing to the world that JT was HIV-positive, a repercussion of his tough years hustling at truckstops. While that could be the most despicable element of the story, I think the most humorous is that Ms. Albert took her family to Disneyland Paris and let The New York Times pay the bill! That alone almost makes me wish she got away with it.
Now, two questions remain: While JT Leroy is busy “hard at work on the next novel,” will his band Thistle play any more shows?
And more importantly, will James Frey incur an Herm賭level of wrath from Oprah? I would fly to New York to see him struck down by America’s greatest force of nature.