Dear Alana review
Production company – Tenderfoot TV
***RELEASE DAY REVIEW***
Another seeming departure for me this week. Yes, I know that Sunday is my usual day for posts. As you can see, it’s another release day exclusive. It seems that nobody releases new shows on a Sunday. I was lucky enough to get contacted by Tenderfoot TV directly to get the first two episodes of this series in advance of the release date. Nearly a month in advance actually, so I’ve been sitting on this one for a while.
I should warn you all before we start that this one is worthy of a trigger warning. It deals with discussion of bullying, suicide, conversion therapy and other subjects that are genuinely upsetting to listen to.
So what’s it about?
Alana Chen was a happy, outgoing, ultimate frisbee fanatic. She was also a devout Catholic, and as she entered her teens, her devotion became more pronounced. Whereas most kids her age were sneaking off to parties, she would sneak off to church. She acquired a spiritual director and decided she wanted to become a nun. However, there were elements to Alana’s life that were in direct conflict with her dream to devote her life to god. A conflict that cost her her life. From a relatively young age, she was attracted to girls. Her spiritual director recommended conversion therapy to help her realise her dream of entering a convent, and from that point Alana started living a double life.
Simon Kent Fung heard about Alana’s death, and realised the importance of this tragic tale. His life mirrored Alana’s closely, so he was inspired to tell her tragic life story. Through speaking to her family, and reading her journals, he uncovers Alana’s secret life. A life full of self doubt, desperation and psychological harm caused by those meant to guide and offer hope.
Is it any good?
In much the same way as Hoaxed, or Hunting Warhead, I’m reluctant to use the term “good”. I tend to think of it in the same manner as “nice”, and that term might almost make light of the situations in both Alana and Simon’s early lives. I would say however, that it’s a brilliantly made show that tells an important story.
There were moments in the first two episodes that nearly did bring me to tears, although strangely it was the events of Simon’s early life that affected me most. Maybe that’s because it was him recounting the events first hand.
One thing that is clear though, is that both Alana and Simon had a very very tough time at the hands of people who were supposed to offer the highest spiritual training. The juxtaposition of who you are, and who you want to be must be an incredible, almost insurmountable barrier to cross. Unfortunately it seems not everyone can make it through.
Since I got hold of the first two episodes, I have also been sent the next three episodes of the series. While I can’t go into any details about what’s coming up, I can tell you that this is a truly heartbreaking podcast, but one that I would recommend to anyone. Devoting your life to god is abviously one of the biggest commitments anyone can make. The thought of not only being denied that, but having to undergo conversion therapy as well is something my mind simply cannot fathom. I guess being a good person isn’t good enough. Hearing about all the things that both Alana and Simon had to confess and undergo psychologically, I’m really not surprised that people don’t make it through.
Tenderfoot TV really is releasing some amazing shows at the moment, and I’ve been a fan for a long time. To get this opportunity for a release day review from them is something I’m most grateful for, so thanks guys!
You can get Dear Alana here: