Publisher description for Opal : a life of enchantment, mystery, and madness / Kathrine Beck.


Bibliographic record and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog


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In 1920, readers across America fell in love with the childhood diary of Opal Whiteley, a young girl from a small logging town in the northwest. The diary, which chronicled Opal's adventures in the forests of Oregon at the age of seven, was hailed as a revelatory and mystical portrait of a child's relationship to God and the natural world. It became an overnight sensation, and Opal-beautiful, charming, and twenty years old-quickly became one of the first celebrities of the day. Though skeptics soon discredited it as a hoax and its author fell out of public view, the diary has since become an enduring classic that has won its place on many school reading lists, and Opal's story continues to touch the hearts of many devotees.

But almost a century later, the true story of the diary and Opal's identity remain a puzzle. Opal is the story of her legacy and of the various mythical roles she has embodied-from a New Age prophet and environmentalist to a mad genius and a long-lost princess.

Sifting through Opal's personal papers and letters, Kathrine Beck has for the first time brought to life the full story behind Opal's elusive and eccentric life. Part biography, part fast-paced mystery, Opal combines the quirkiness of The Professor and the Madman with the hypnotic aura of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. With beautiful photos from Opal's childhood, as well as her striking publicity shots, it is a delightful book for the holidays.


Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Whiteley, Opal Stanley.
Authors, American -- 20th century -- Biography.
Women naturalists -- United States -- Biography.
Princesses -- France -- Miscellanea.
Orl‚eans, House of -- Miscellanea.
Diaries -- Authorship.
Oregon -- Biography.