by Rick Emerson
I read Go Ask Alice in seventh grade, back when you had to have a note from a parent giving you permission to check it out from the school library. Mom had encouraged me to read it and warned me about the worst scene. The part that spooked her wasn't mentioned in Unmask Alice and I don't even remember the scenes that Rick Emerson describes. I read a stack of other "teen problem novels" during that time period and there were others that had more of an emotional impact on me.
I didn't find out that Alice was a hoax until a few years back. To be honest, I'd never thought too hard about whether the diary was real or not. My childhood was full of cautionary tales, most of them definitely not true. Alice was just another one of many stories. I never read Jay's Journal, but I've got vivid memories of the Satanic Panic.
Unmask Alice looks at Beatrice Sparks and her hoaxes through the eyes of 2022 and as frustrated as I got by some of the author's descriptions (at one point he describes the letters to the editor page in the newspaper as "a prehistoric comments section") I couldn't put it down. I kept imagining the author as someone very young.
Disclosure -- The publisher provided me with an advance review copy. This post contains affiliate links.