The New Yorker published a story last week about the authorship and provenance of the 1971 book Go Ask Alice. The book is presented as the diary of a teenage girl, but a new book suggests that it was composed by Beatrice Sparks, a woman who claimed to only have found the diary and edited it.
The article is a fine read, asking interesting questions about the ethics of publication, and the difficulties of identifying authorship.
But near the end of the article they include this line, “As a few ex-Mormons have pointed out, Sparks was not the first Mormon to publish a text ostensibly based on an original source that the rest of the world did not get to see.”
The line takes a not-quite veiled swipe at the founding of the religion that Sparks was a member of.
I can’t help but wonder if Sparks was a Catholic, would the author have been as comfortable opining, “Sparks is not the first Catholic to put out a book where the original sources aren’t available.”
This kind of winking attack feels more fitting on the ex-Mormon Reddit than in a major publication like the New Yorker.