The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things (novel)

The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things (novel)

infobox Book |
name = The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things
title_orig =
translator =


image_caption=
author = JT Leroy
cover_artist =
country = United States
language = English
series =
genre = Short Stories
publisher = Bloomsbury
release_date = 9 June 2001
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages = 224 pp
isbn = ISBN 1582341427
preceded_by = Sarah
followed_by =

"The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things" is a 2001 novel by Laura Albert, using the pen name and fictional persona of JT LeRoy. It is a catalogue of drug abuse, child sexual abuse, physical abuse centred around Jeremiah, a young boy, and his prostitute mother Sarah. Although published second, the book was written before "Sarah", LeRoy's first published novel.

Plot summary

"The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things" is told from Jeremiah's perspective and is a collection of interlinked chapters that focus on his early life with his mother. At the start of the novel, five-year-old Jeremiah is taken away from his foster parents to live with Sarah, a drug addict and lot lizard prostitute, who has recently turned 18 and legally gained custody.

Jeremiah moves with his mother from trucker to trucker as he gets older, though his age in each chapter is never clearly established. Sarah forces Jeremiah to take on various roles of siblings and offspring (gender determined by Sarah). After wetting his bed, Jeremiah gets viciously belted by her then-boyfriend, Luther, while his mother fondles his penis. He is made to shoplift by Sarah and is left home alone and unattended for six days when Sarah marries one of her men. The man returns alone from their honeymoon, explaining how Sarah abandoned him after he lost his money in Atlantic City, sodomises Jeremiah, then dumps him outside a hospital.

After some ineffectual psychotherapy, he goes to live with his repressive Christian grandparents' home. Jeremiah is abused there as well; he is being forced to get into scalding water and is aggressively scrubbed on the genitals by one of his cousins.

Two years later, Jeremiah's mother unexpectedly turns up and takes him away, aware of the lack of power her parents have over the custody decision. She makes him grow shoulder-length hair and act as a girl, on occasion for the sexual satisfaction of her clients. With Sarah as the only influential figure in his life, Jeremiah starts to adopt his mother's seduction techniques. After dressing up as a 'baby doll', Jeremiah seduces Jackson, his mother's latest man, who initially tries to rebuff the boy's advances, but then rapes him.

The book has been adapted into a feature film of the same name, directed by and starring Asia Argento.

ee also

*List of books portraying paedophilia or sexual abuse of minors


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