IF bands like Smashing Pumpkins were the soundtrack of Generation X then author JT LeRoy was its voice.

Jeremiah 'Terminator' LeRoy's candid accounts of his lost childhood through prostitution, drug addiction, and homelessness in California caused a stir in the literary world.

And the way he tempered his experiences into fiction about abuse, exploitation, and abandonment became best-selling novels.

The only problem was that JT LeRoy did not really exist.

It was the creation of Laura Albert, who described LeRoy as an avatar to write things she felt she could not have said in her own voice.

The New York Times' revelation was described as 'the greatest literary hoax in a generation'.

Jeff Feuerzeig's documentary, Author, featuring extensive interviews with Albert, looks at how the idea of creating a persona developed as a way for the writer to deal with her own personal demons.

It is one of those films that makes you realise that sometimes truth genuinely is stranger than fiction.

What makes Author so strong is that Albert recorded many of her phone conversations as JT LeRoy and passed them all over to Feuerzeig.

It paints a vivid picture and the film tells the whole story from Albert's youth onwards.

You see the showbiz highs of film sets and rendezvous with rock stars as Albert's sister-in-law Savannah Knoop became LeRoy for public appearances, but also the drain it had on their lives.

Author shows how the lie grew almost out of control before the bubble burst with an exposé.

Feuerzeig's documentary is also slickly put together with cut aways, animated sequences, archive footage and phone recordings.

One of the only weaknesses of the film is the shallow pool of interviewees. Maybe it is because Albert burnt many bridges with her celebrity chums when LeRoy was revealed to be a hoax.

But where is Savannah and other family members? Where is Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan who was one of the few to know who Albert, who posed as LeRoy's handler, really was?

Ultimately the film leaves it up to the viewer to judge Albert – was JT LeRoy self-expression or fraud? Ten years after the New York Times exposé the verdict is still out.

RATING: 7/10