written by "Anonymous." copyright 1971 by "editor" Beatrice Sparks. (quote marks indicate big fat lies) Simon and Schuster. intermediate / young-adult fiction, geared towards people aged 12-16, except none of them are going to believe it, I hope. 185 pgs.

Once upon a time, a lady named Beatrice decided she would write a book about drugs and what scaary scaaaary monsters they are. She wrote and she wrote. Aha! said Beatrice. I will pretend that the hero of my book is actually the author! It will be like the diary of a girl on drugs! It will be Authentic!

And she published it, and it was ridiculous, and the world laughed and laughed.

Wait, no they didn't. Damn.

Amazon.com lists 407 reader reviews of this abomination, and their average rating is 4-1/2 stars, out of 5. Don't listen to them. Those are people who use "impact" as a verb. Perhaps they are only pretending to like the book, as a funny joke. Really, I don't know why this book is so popular - its readers are not paying attention.

The story: Alice has always been a good kid until a FIEND slips her some drugs at a party, and then she's hooked on EVERYTHING, 'cause that's how it works, right? Pot makes you crave heroin! Plus pot makes you have crazy sex with everybody, because that's also how it works. Pot makes you freak out! Pot makes you black out! Also pot makes you curse, apparently. You've never seen such a hokey stupid Jekyl-into-Hyde "transformation." The effects of one drug are equal to the effects of all; she acts the same whether drunk or stoned or tripping. Ahem. No.

So, her life dribbles away, because once you try pot there's no turning back, everybody knows that. Alice does ALL the drugs and ALL the boys, eventually running away from home and living in a park. One might ask (but hardly anybody does) how she retained her dedication to telling her story. If she were loopy out of her head, how'd she keep her syntax so neat? One might almost think her "editor," Beatrice Sparks, had stepped in to clean up the dialogue, make the story flow a little smoother - or written the whole damn worthless thing herself. Hmm, I wonder.

  • By the end of the book, Alice is living on the streets, fucking strangers for spare change or a joint. Yet she still manages to write faithfully and lucidly in her journal, and when she runs out of pages, she writes on ripped-up grocery bags, always storing them in a safe place, under her park bench or something. Uh-huh.

  • Beatrice Sparks seems to run across a whole lot of "absolutely true journals." Check Amazon.

  • This sentence, from the book: "Oh to be stoned, to have someone tie me off and give me a shot of anything."

  • The movie version of Go Ask Alice stars William Shatner as her dad, and Andy Griffith as the kindly priest. Are those the people you take your truth from?

I hate this book because of its phoniness. I hate it double because its phoniness makes it easy to make fun of. Kids DO end up on the streets, compromising themselves and dying. But this kid didn't. The book is a lie, and it makes me furious that it's being passed off as real, to kids, who would benefit from the truth, and who would much prefer it. It's a scary topic. But it's not so scary that we should start making shit up.

thanks to:

Although the main character of the book is frequently referred to as Alice when the book is discussed, the name Alice is never actually used in Go Ask Alice. The author is Anonymous (whether or not junkpile happens to agree) and the narrator is never referred to by name.

The title, Go Ask Alice, is taken from a Jefferson Airplane song, White Rabbit. In the song, it is clearly obvious that the Alice referred to is Alice in Wonderland, although she seems to be symbolic of all drug users.

The movie version of Go Ask Alice was, at one time, shown to young people as anti-drug propaganda. Now, however, most people agree with junkpile and it has become somewhat of a caricature of itself. I don't believe this bleak narrative is actually shown to kids today as an attempt at deglorifying drugs. On the contrary, I was introduced to the movie during a course about advertising and propaganda that used it as an example of something that should provoke doubt as opposed to something serious.

I choose to believe that the people who rated this as a 'good book' on Amazon may have done so because of its historical kitchiness; its secured place in pop culture and in humorously dated americana. For those reasons, Go Ask Alice shouldn't be forgotten or dismissed. It belongs somewhere next to Reefer Girl on our video shelves.

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