When Alana Chen died at the age of 24 in Boulder, she left behind two dozen journals chronicling a deep faith, love of fashion, and passion to become a nun. She also harbored a secret. At 14, she confessed to her priest that she was attracted to women. That priest convinced her not to tell her parents, and for seven years, Alana covertly sought pastoral counsel and conversion therapy. After being hospitalized for depression, she ended her life in 2019. When Simon Kent Fung learned of her story, he reached out to her family to offer comfort. His own life was shockingly similar: he too sought out conversion therapy for nearly a decade in his efforts to become a priest. As he discovers more about Alana’s brief life and their overlapping experiences, he’s compelled to understand the truth of what happened to her—and finally face what happened to him.
The Crime Writers Squad • Crime Writers On • Sep 22, 2023
"We loved the way Simon's story dovetailed with Alana's in their search for answers...It also offers dignity to both Alana and Simon, allowing them to find their own paths to resolve their conflict between faith and identity - one of them triumphantly, the other tragically."
Devin • Podstack • Aug 31, 2023
"Alana sounds like one of the most selfless and thoughtful people I’ve heard of. The raw audio of their first in-person meeting and as they read through things that Alana had written, including a heart wrenching letter to herself, drew me in so strongly...the song that plays during the end credits is so good it makes all the emotions you felt through out the episode swell up in your body and break your heart all over again. Every time."
Ximena Smith • Radio New Zealand • Aug 30, 2023
"A couple of times I was on the verge of tears....it's just a really powerful insight into what modern day conversion therapy looks like...(on host Simon) it really brings the show to another level because he's able to give that personal insight..."
Keelin • Mentally? A Magpie. • Aug 23, 2023
"The tone of this podcast is soft, warm, and comforting despite the rough edges of the difficulty it’s examining. The music is reverent and thoughtful, reflecting the comfort that someone might have sitting in a chapel and speaking to a loving higher power. This podcast is a tapestry of so many things that life can be, and what it can become through tragedy. The fact that everyone is going to listen to this podcast and walk away with something for them. I’m walking away, my heart aching, but full of hope. Alana may be gone, but now there is this central point where people can go and hear and know they are not alone."
Lauren Passell • Podcast The Newsletter • Aug 22, 2023
"The podcast is a broken conversation between Simon, the Chens, and Alana and brings up all the things it’s too late for Alana to hear. I can absolutely understand how someone more willing to listen than I was could completely fall into the darkest hole that a religion could offer."
Gregg Stockdale • The Podcast Geek • Aug 14, 2023
"...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... I can tell you that this is a truly heartbreaking podcast, but one that I would recommend to anyone."
Hollie Richardson • The Guardian • Aug 10, 2023
"In this devastating but sensitive investigative series, he looks at the role conversion therapy played in Alana’s story...It’s a harrowing tale of how a woman Fung never met would turn his life upside down."
Frank Racioppi • Ear Worthy • Aug 4, 2023
"Dear Alana is a gripping limited series hosted by Simon Kent Fung...Simon, who shares a strikingly similar past, offers solace to Alana’s family and embarks on a quest to uncover the truth behind her fate, while confronting his own demons. The eight-episode podcast series is both an unraveling mystery, and a poignant spiritual memoir."