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Lie Go Ask Alice, a so-called diary of teens with drug problems

Journalist Rick Emerson discovered that teenage bestsellers did not come from "Alice"'s diary. Rather, it came from the heart of Beatrice Sparks

A new book is diving deep into the origins of Go Ask Alice.
Dig deeper into the origin of GoAsk Alice. Photo by Simon & Schuster

High school students are reading the controversial bestseller Go Ask Alice by Anonymous — About the dangers of drugs written in a warning diary format to warn teens — since it was published in 1971.

A "real diary" isprohibited in its language and content. Going out to be fiction, yet it has sold millions of copies over the last 50 years. Now, a new book by Rick EmersonUnmask Alicedelves into its origins and reveals the truth behind so-called fraud.

"The official background was that Alice was a California girl who had been abused by drugs and alcohol. EmersontoldVanity Fair in a recent interview and her parents. Added that he found her diary and decided to publish it to help others with similar problems ..

But the truth soon began to permeate. In the reprint, a woman named Beatrice Sparks was listed as an editor.

"She interviewed a Utah newspaper and said at the Christian Youth Conference. I met Alice and said she became a friend. After Alice's death, Sparks was given her diary and edited it for her publication, "he said.

After all, the story wasn't from the diary of the girl in trouble. Rather, it came from the heart of Sparks, who was discovered to be its author.

"Sometimes she is a youth counselor, music therapist, adolescent psychologist, doctorate, psychotherapist, and child psychiatrist," Emerson said. .. "I couldn't even confirm that she had graduated."

She later wrote another book aimed at "addressing issues such as homelessness, AIDS, and even Satanism." , Emerson said. Her upbringing, detailed by Emerson, was able to provide insight into why she stuck to those topics. She grew up in a small town in Utah during the Great Depression.

"Her father abandoned his family for a woman half the age of him and her parents divorced. This was almost unprecedented in Logan. Beatrice was a waitress. I had to drop out of school because of it, "Emerson said. "Like many people from families with problems with many emotional upheavals, she survived it by creating a persona."

She moved to San Francisco, got married and then returned to Utah. Meanwhile, she was about to become a writer. She "broke through" in 1971. At that time, the idea that a young girl succumbed to her drug addiction "finally fit", Emerson said. It was about the same time that President Richard Nixon declared the war on drugs.

He didn't reveal to Vanity Fair, whether Emerson discovered if there was a real person who influenced the story.

"When I entered this project, I thought Alice wasn't there," he said. "I was ready for complete fiction from top to bottom. I think others had Alice, but perhaps the story was decorated. From what I found, without too much spoiling. , Say neither of these views is correct. The answer was in the middle and wasn't what I expected. "

Go Ask for content Some thought Alice was dangerous, while others said it was dangerous because she twisted the truth.

"It was dangerous because it was basically a lie," Jenny Valentine, a writer who read Go Ask Alice at the age of 13, told theGuardian. "I dressed as the real voice of teenage anguish, it's really just a compelling tale, and it's the one that manipulates it."

But if there's no lie, Emerson says it's He said he didn't think it would have a big impact.

"Millions of people, good or bad, may have lost whatever they stole from the book," he said.

Sparks died in 2012. She remained a mystery, even to her own son, Emerson said.

"Everything in her didn't seem to be known by design," he said. "This also allows us to reinvent ourselves at the moment we need it."

Unmask Alice will be available on July 5th.

  1. A 2013 display at an Ontario library encouraging patrons to read books that have faced bans in less enlightened eras and countries. A decidedly different mood towards book banning has now affected hundreds of Ontario school libraries. See

    First reading: Censorship is chic again.

  2. Dated children's books — such as Tintin Au Congo, which was first published in the 1930s — are some of the most frequently and successfully challenged works.

    Currently, book bans are "anachronistic", but there are concerns about freedom of expression in Canada. Remains

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