Welcome back. How are you doing today? Let's transgress the norms by learning about another 5 brave women who wrote what everyone is scared of. Today we will learn a bit about Beatrice Sparks, Tana French, Dorothy Allison, Asper Blurry, and Jeanette Winterson.
(January 15, 1917 – May 25, 2012)
Beatrice Sparks was an American therapist and Mormon youth counselor who was known for her books that were purporting to be the "real diaries" of troubled teenagers. The books deal with issues such as drug abuse, Satanism, teenage pregnancy, or AIDS and that is the reason I categorize her writings under Transgressive Fiction. All of her books were published with the byline 'Anonymous'. Almost Lost and Kim: Empty Inside are the only books for which Sparks does not claim the copyright as the author of the entire work.
Go Ask Alice is a 1971 book about a teenage girl who develops a drug addiction at age 15 and runs away from home on a journey of self-destructive escapism. There were a lot of questions about the book's authenticity and true authorship that arise in the late 1970s but are now generally viewed as a manuscript-styled fictional work written by Sparks, Nevertheless, its popularity has endured, and as of 2014, it had remained continuously in print since its publication over four decades earlier. (source)
This book is her first work. In interviews conducted over the next few years, Sparks identified herself as the book's editor and related that Alice consisted partly of the actual diary of a troubled teen, and partly of fictional events based on Sparks's experiences working with other teens. (source)Go Ask Alice received positive initial reviews and was also recommended by Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and The Christian Science Monitor, and ranked number 1 on the American Library Association's 1971 list of Best Books for Young Adults. (source) However, starting in the 1990s, the book began to draw criticism for its heavy-handedness, melodramatic style, and inauthenticity, in view of the growing consciousness that it was fiction rather than a real teenager's diary. (source) At its time, this book may be transgressive fiction but today it has been criticized for equating homosexuality with "degradation", illness, sin, and guilt. (source)
“I'm not really sure which parts of myself are real and which parts are things I've gotten from books.” ― Beatrice Sparks, Go Ask Alice
Tana French is born in 1973 is an American-Irish writer and theatrical actress. Her debut novel In the Woods was published in 2007, a psychological mystery, won the Edgar,(source) Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards for a best first novel. The New York Times writes about The Searcher as "a spellbinding, propulsive new novel from the bestselling mystery writer who is in a class by herself." For me, this book is a form of transgressive fiction as it needs guts to read.
Her first novel, In the Woods, is listed in top transgressive novels by Goodreads and it's one of my favorite crime/horror books. The plot revolves around a rape-murder which is not easy to read for people who are sensitive about this matter. Her psychological slash literary mystery, where the emphasis isn't on the detective or the narrator being in physical danger, but psychological danger.
“What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this -- two things: I crave truth. And I lie. ” ― Tana French, In the Woods
Dorothy Allison is an American writer whose writing focuses on class struggle, sexual abuse, child abuse, feminism, and lesbianism. (source) French literary scholar Mélanie Grué describes Allison's work as a celebration of "the vilified transgressive lesbian body." (source