A bit of a rant

I must admit that despite not wanting to read any other books “edited” by Beatrice Sparks, I did do a bit more research into her other works, and let me tell you, I got PISSED.

First of all, I want to address that I know that this is what publishers and editors do. They spin the story and books in such a way that will make a profit. And I know that the more relateable the story, the more it sells. So when a person finds a book that it based on a true story or is supposedly true, they will feel it more personally. That said, I am appalled that Sparks got away with it for so long. Or at least no one took legal action against her.

Her second book Jay’s Journal is one such work. Alden Barrett was a 16 year old boy who was depressed ad as a result committed suicide. Sparks apparently got in touch with the family and somehow convinced them to let her publish a book about Alden. They gave Sparks his journal and she edited and published it into Jay’s Journal. Except that it wasn’t truly his story. Out of about 200 entries of his journal, Sparks used only 20 of them in the book. The rest of the diary, she claimed, were accounts from his friends. Sparks invented the 60-odd other entries and the “Jay’s” decent into satanism.

She must have told Alden’s parents that their identities would be completely anonymous as to protect them, unfortunately, it was either a clever lie or Sparks just couldn’t be bothered to protect them from the backlash. After the book came out the family was ostracized and Alden’s grave vandalized and even stolen multiple times. It got so bad, they felt they had to move. Alden’s brother published his own book about his brother and Spark’s book in an attempt to get the truth out.

I’m not here to get into a big debate about religion, because that’s just not how I roll. I also understand that a person’s morels is not completely based on religion. Every religion has their share of bad seeds. But I do find it horrendously despicable that Sparks would use her religion and her profession to spin lies of this proportion and with these consequences. Don’t get me wrong, I do think that she may have, on some level, had her heart in the right place, but maybe she just wanted a way to get some fast cash. I don’t know. I can’t speak for her. But I do think that in the 33 years since the book came out, she not once owned up to what her book caused the Barrett family to go through. Again, I don’t know if she did or not, that is only speculation, but there is no evidence that she tried to contact the family. That could be because of them though. We may never know. Sparks died earlier this year, so unless anything crops up posthumously, the truth of her side has died with her.

All I can say with certainty is that I am not going to seek out Spark’s books, and after learning that she could do this to a family, seemingly with no remorse, I’m somewhat ashamed for reading Go ask Alice.


Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

Cover Title: Go ask Alice
Author: Anonymous
Length: 159 pages
Genre: Ya, fiction
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 2/5
Why I read it:To satisfy my curiosity.

The book is about a teen girl (who’s name is never given) who goes to a party, and gets a drink that is laced with LSD. She soon starts experimenting with other drugs, and eventually runs away from home with a friend and fellow drug addict, Chris. While in San Francisco, Chris and the girl start a new life without drugs until Chris’s boss invites them to a party and they get high. From there, the girls open their own shop, but soon after te main character goes home to her parents. She seems to do really well until she gets hooked on drugs again, and runs away a second time. This time she is alone, homeless, and preforms sexual acts to get drugs. She eventually goes back home again and stays sober until the end of the book.

Go ask Alice was published by Beatrice Sparks, a Therapist and youth counselor who has published a number of books targeted to teens as cautionary tales. She claims in all the books she published that they are true stories kept in real-life diaries of the characters.

The good: This book was written in diary form, which made it a quick read. The story was compelling enough to make you want to know what is going to happen to the main character next.

The bad: It was first published in 1971 as a book to help show teens what drugs are really like, so the publishers claimed that the book was a diary kept by a real person. Unfortunately, it turns out that is not the case.

While I did read the book in two days, and couldn’t seem to put it down, I can’t say I really enjoyed the book. If it hadn’t turned out to be fake, I probably would have liked it better. I probably won’t ever read it again or read any of the other books put out by the publisher, and I most likely won’t recommend it to any one. I’d seen it in the book store many times and been curious about it, and for me it served it’s purpose, but I think that this is one book that readers should form their own opinions on if they choose to read this book.

fanfic anyone?

My next review may not be up for a while because I’m currently reading Gone With the Wind, which is a bit long. While it is captivating to me and all I want to do is read it, I also have to organize my ebook collection. The 36GB micro SD card husband ordered for me didn’t work properly, so he exchanged it. It might get here tomorrow. I’ve been organizing since 8:00 PM, and it is now 4:13 AM, and I am nowhere near done.

Anyway, I thought I’d delight you guys on my opinions of fanfic. Why you may ask? Because my sister has written her very first fanfic. She is 31 years old, and does not read fanfic. I don’t even know if she knew exactly what it was until recently. Honestly, I don’t read a lot of fanfic myself. I have many friends who have written FF in the past, and some that still do write it. And One friend reads it so much, she is constantly sending links to them to me and her husband. This said friend has a tendency to take her netbook or a notebook and pen with her everywhere for when her “plot bunnies” give her an idea.

Like I said, I don’t write it or read it. At least I don’t read it very often ( I skim through my friend’s just so I can give an honest opinion when she asks), but the few really good ones I have read are bookmarked on the computer.

I wanted to put a question to anyone who reads this blog, what are your thoughts on fanfic?