From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Scary, sad, and way, way out there, Leroys picaresque debut novel follows a young boy through southern truckstops, where lot lizards turn tricks for drivers whose tastes run from women to transvestites to boys in jeans. Sarah is actually the name of our heros mother, and in the beginning they both work for Glad, a fairly nice pimp who treats his whores decently and serves them up to a not-too-rough clientele. But when the boy appropriates his mothers name and gender (at least in appearance) to go wandering, he winds up in the clutches of a really bad guy named Le Loup. The gory details of how Sarah is abused by this monster and his cohorts will come as no surprise to those familiar with Leroys journalistic pieces (in Spin, Nerve, New York Press) under the pseudonym Terminator, some of which dealt with his own experiences. Its disturbing to encounter a 20-year-old who knows this much about lifes seamy side, but Leroy depicts his damaged, degraded characters with considerable tenderness. Not exactly a laugh riot, but not as unrelievedly sordid as a plot synopsis might suggest. -- Copyright ©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.