Laura Albert
(June 2007)

Laura Albert is yet another author who realized that reality is both more forgiving and compelling than fiction, and thus who took a fictional memoir and peddled it as real. Quite successfully too: her first person story about the life of a male prostitute became an international best seller, and was optioned for a film version. But needless to say, the middle-aged woman never was and never had been a male prostitute. Albert, who wrote the book Sarah under the name J.T. Leroy, collected her ill-gotten gains through her company Underdogs Inc. A Manhattan jury found her guilty of fraud, and now she has to pay $116,500 to the film company Antidote International Films, for breaching a three-year contract to turn her book into a movie. Albert never admitted the fraud, putting up the spirited and patently unbelievable defense: that she felt like the male prostitute was really "part of her," and thus real as real can be.

Nice try. I'm sure every author, from Mark Twain to Ian Fleming to Arthur Conan Doyle to J.K Rowling feels that their fictional creations are in some way "alive" in their imagination, psyche, mind or soul, but that doesn't make Huckleberry Finn, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter literally alive. Albert is indistinguishable from James Frye, he of "A Million Little Pieces" infamy, except Frye at least didn't try to claim that somehow his lies were true once the jig was up and he was exposed as a novelist in autobiographer's clothing.

Still, the Scoreboard has a warm spot in its heart for anyone who has the brass to attempt the "Elephant? What elephant?" tactic, especially in court. And thus it gladly awards Ms. Albert the "Liar of the Month" prize for June.

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