Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

Told in diary entries by an unnamed girl (which for purposes of this review we shall call "Alice"), it chronicles her life and her struggle with her addiction to drugs.

Now I'm obviously reading this many years after its original publication of 1971. And from what I've read, it seems that originally it was thought to be a real-life diary. Beatrice Sparks who was originally editor, eventually stated that this was one of her patient's diary and she used several of the passages in it to create the book. But it seems that since then much of that has also been questioned and they are now selling it with an inscription in the first pages stating that this is a complete work of fiction and not to be thought otherwise.

With that said, whether you believe Go Ask Alice is non-fiction or fiction, or even anti-drug propaganda, it should not make a difference on whether or not you read this book. It is, what it is - a story about a young girl living in the mid to late 60's who gets seduced into the world of drugs. Her diary entries detail her first encounter at a party, becoming an addict, selling drugs at school , running away, rape, more drugs and eventually using sex to acquire even more drugs. So what if it's not a true story. I'm sure this can easily be someone's "true" story.

My only concern is that it feels outdated. I think as a whole parents today have learned from "our" parents' mistakes. I think we know the signs of drug use and what changes to look for in our children. I also don't really know overly much about drugs - so I can't say for sure that Alice's addiction and the speed in which it all transpires is credible.

I'm not sure if it's still banned in schools, but I know at one point the book was pulled off the shelves and, in the cases where it wasn't, they removed some of the more graphic parts in the book. After reading Go Ask Alice, I can say that I would definitely let my kids (obviously when they are tweens, since they are both toddlers at the moment) read this. If for no other reason than to have them open up and talk about drugs. I know and am hopeful that by reading something like this they might remember that while at a party they should never drink from a cup they themselves didn't pour or even that "I'll just try it once" can be life altering.

All in all, I found it to be an interesting book, even if it is untrue.


Unknown said...

This sounds very interesting i love reading diary like books, i have added it to my wishlist.

Thanks for sharing!

Jackie said...

I remember reading this when I was about 16. When my oldest daughter was about 16, I recommended she read it when we saw it in the library. She enjoyed it.(if that is the right word)

brizmus said...

I've heard so much about this book, and I wonder how I never got around to reading it. It sounds intense and fabulous and amazing.
I'm curious to read it now, as, while I have never done drugs, I have a LOT of experience with people that have, and I'd like to see how right one she is.
Thanks for the review!

Michele said...

I think I was more disturbed by the later "fiction" announcement just because when I read this as a teen everyone, of course, believed it to be very real.

Now, of course, you're isn't any less powerful fiction or not. But at the time it was kind of like a James Frey on Oprah moment and ticked me off, LOL.

Jennifer said...

Sounds interesting. From my experience, starting a discussion about drugs is the best way to really prevent kids from going down that path. Being able to talk about it with my parents is what helped me make my decision. And let me tell you, my decision to stay clean and avoid drugs was not made just because my parents told me drugs were bad. Still, I have seen kids slip down that path without their parents really noticing until it was too late. And as much as we'd all like to think that parents would notice such changes in behavior, sometimes they don't. For these reasons, I think its good that books like this exist so that people can become more informed and realize that this is a real problem for a lot of people. Great review.

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