If you write an outrageously implausible story and get it published, congratulations -- you've just added yet another novel to the pile of thousands that come out every year. But if you write the exact same outrageous crap and put it in the biography section, then you've got yourself a best-seller and become a media sensation.
Authors know this, so the next time you read a biography filled with unusually inspiring, heartbreaking, or just plain awesome stories, keep in mind that there's a solid chance it's all complete and utter bullshit. For example ...
6 Go Ask Alice Was a "Troubled Teen Diary" ... by a 54-Year-Old Mormon
Go Ask Alice is the diary of a 15-year-old girl whose drink is spiked with LSD during a party. Two years and several doobies, heroin shots, and blow jobs for money later, she's dead from an overdose. There's a good chance that your school either made you read this book or banned you from even looking at it. It's very popular with teachers, partly because of its "painfully honest" anti-drug message and partly because you can easily tell a student didn't actually read it when they call the unnamed protagonist "Alice" (that's the name of another character).
Cinema Studio Entertainment
In a plot twist, the narrator's true name is Tyler Durden.
In the four decades since its publication, the book has sold millions of copies around the world, and yet no one has been able to find out the identity of the stoner Anne Frank who wrote it. It's weird that none of the people who knew her have stepped up by now, huh? They're probably all dead from pot overdoses.
Wait, no, we do know who wrote the diary. Here's that young, troubled adolescent:
Beatrice Sparks via Daily Herald
Cheri Oteri was a heroin addict?
That's Beatrice Sparks, a Mormon youth counselor of dubious qualifications and master of the bullshit teen diary genre. Originally, Go Ask Alice was credited only to "Anonymous," but after it became a hit, Sparks came forward as its "editor," claiming in interviews that she transcribed a real teenager's diary, but she can't show it to you right now because, um, she left it in her other pants or something. Suspiciously, she was also the book's sole copyright holder. Oh, and there's the small fact that later editions had a disclaimer that flat-out said, "This is a work of fiction."
None of this fazed Sparks, who continued cranking out "real diaries" about teenagers having a shitty time, all written in the same mom-like style and lacking any of the inane stuff teens write about.
Harper Teen/Harper Collins/Harper Teen
Realistically, 90 percent of these should be terrible song lyrics.
But did any adults fall for this crap? The parents of 16-year-old suicide victim Alden Barrett apparently did, since they approached Sparks to publish their son's journal. Which she did ... after replacing most of it with a story about Satanism that she pulled out of her ass, of course.