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Powell's Books Presents Rick Emerson in Conversation With Chelsea Cain
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. But Alice 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. Rick Emerson’s Unmask Alice: LSD, Satanic Panic, and the Imposter Behind the World's Most Notorious Diaries (BenBella) 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. Emerson will be joined in conversation by Chelsea Cain, author of Heartsick and One Kick.
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