History - Nonfiction

Unmask Alice: LSD, Satanic Panic, and the Imposter Behind the World’s Most Notorious Diaries by Rick Emerson

Check it out if you know what they say about good intentions…

As a teenager I read Go Ask Alice, as many teenagers have since the “true diary” came out in 1971. Like many others who read it, I was shocked and horrified at how a young girl could go down such a dark path. I didn’t go on to read the other “by Anonymous” books or give it much of a thought until recently when a new book called Unmask Alice was published and immediately sparked my interest.

The general purpose of the book is to find the real life person behind the diary, Alice herself. But Rick Emerson takes a much deeper dive into more than just that. He places a critical eye on the creation of the second book Jay’s Journal, a harrowing (and turns out, largely false) tale about one teen who dabbles in the occult until it finally consumes him, leading him to take his own life.

The same person who “edited” Go Ask Alice went on to take creative liberties with not only Go Ask Alice and Jay’s Journal, but a whole series of books telling “true” stories.Who is this person? It turns out it was a mother and Latter-Day Saints member who had very vague credentials and an even more vague story about the real Alice. The question becomes not who is Alice but rather – who is Beatrice Sparks? I won’t spoil any more of the story but I found it to be a riveting read. Check it out today!

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