If you’ve gone to school in the United States sometime in the last 35 years, there’s a good chance you’ve unknowingly read an author named Beatrice Sparks.
Beatrice Sparks in the 1970s.
A Mormon social worker with a flair for the dramatic, Sparks wrote prolifically in an uncommon genre: the fake diary. Whether as a drugged out hippie chick, or a smart young man with a deadly interest in the occult, she did her damnedest to get into the hearts and minds of impressionable teenagers.
There have been mixed results.
James Frey during his hour-long act of contrition, 2006.
James Frey, the once-celebrated author of A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard didn’t take quite as many liberties with the facts as Beatrice Sparks, but he fudged his memoir enough to unleash the fury of Oprah Winfrey and her legion of dedicated book lovers.
This week, we’ll tell both of their stories. From gelatin salad to lazy blowjobs, from anesthesia-free root canals to lispy badasses, we’ll cover it all.