"Unmask Alice by Rick Emerson goes a long way to showing what investigative journalism could be in the right hands . . . this book is undeniably buzzworthy." --Portland Book Review
"An absorbing and unnerving read . . . this book demands to be finished in one sitting." --Booklist
Two teens. Two diaries. Two social panics. One incredible fraud.
In 1971, Go Ask Alice
reinvented the young adult genre with a blistering portrayal of sex, psychosis, and teenage self-destruction. The supposed diary of a middle-class addict, Go Ask Alice
terrified adults and cemented LSD's fearsome reputation, fueling support for the War on Drugs. Five million copies later, Go Ask Alice
remains a divisive bestseller, outraging censors and earning new fans, all of them drawn by the book's mythic premise: A Real Diary, by Anonymous
was only the beginning.
In 1979, another diary rattled the culture, setting the stage for a national meltdown. The posthumous memoir of an alleged teenage Satanist, Jay's Journal
merged with a frightening new crisis--adolescent suicide--to create a literal witch hunt, shattering countless lives and poisoning whole communities.
In reality, Go Ask Alice
and Jay's Journal
came from the same dark place: Beatrice Sparks, a serial con artist who betrayed a grieving family, stole a dead boy's memory, and lied her way to the National Book Awards. Unmask Alice: LSD, Satanic Panic, and the Imposter Behind the World's Most Notorious Diaries
is a true story of contagious deception. It stretches from Hollywood to Quantico, and passes through a tiny patch of Utah nicknamed "the fraud capital of America." It's the story of a doomed romance and a vengeful celebrity. Of a lazy press and a public mob. Of two suicidal teenagers, and their exploitation by a literary vampire. Unmask Alice
. . . where truth is stranger than nonfiction.