I finally decided to read this much-lauded piece of cult fiction recently and I have to say I’m so glad I did. I can now call myself a J.T. LeRoy fan, folks.
This is the story of Cherry Vanilla, a teen transsexual trucker prostitute. This amazing story takes place in two separate truck stops in West Virginia. At first I found the reading of this book daunting because of the local hillbilly dialect it’s written in, but after you get through that hurdle, an amazing story starts to unfold before you.
Cherry Vanilla's main goal is be a full-fledged lot lizard (trucker prostitute) just like his mother, Sarah. When his <cough, cough> career doesn't seem to be going anywhere, he decides to jump ship and take up with LeLoop and his batch of ramp-eating, extremely superstitious whores at the Three Crutches, a rival truck stop just down the interstate.
Once it’s discovered that Cherry Vanilla is actually a boy, all hell breaks loose. His long golden curls are hacked off with a switchblade by LeLoop and he’s forced to hook as a boy from then on. Cherry Vanilla soon spirals into alcoholism and sometimes huffing glue when he doesn’t have the money to purchase overpriced booze from the den mother at the Three Crutches.The end of this book then plays out like a cheesy, made-for-TV movie from the seventies.
After some time, word gets back to his home truck stop about the plight of their little runaway. Glad (Cherry Vanilla's original pimp) hatches a plan where one of his heart-of-gold prostitutes will dress up like a man, borrow a big rig and head over to his truck stop in a ruse to hire him for his “services” (and to secretly help him escape LeLoop's clutches). The high-speed chase scene that follows could be straight out of a Dukes Of Hazzard episode.
This is one weird and wild book but I’m glad I read it. I’m surprised that John Waters hasn’t made this into a movie yet because it’s surely right up his alley.