Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

If I were a teenager contemplating taking drugs, yes, I would go ask Alice about it. 

Or maybe not. "Alice" seemed like someone who could actually egg me on to try drugs. And get hooked. Like this book got me hooked - I read it in practically one sitting.

The book in one sentence: The unedited pages from a teenage drug addict's diary (purportedly. But that's another story).

Although the writer is Anonymous, I've pegged her name as Alice just because it makes sense. This is a pretty straightforward read. This is a 15-year-old's firsthand account of how she got into drug use thrown into the whole crazy mix that is teenage angst. Her chance encounter with LSD - in her innocent Coke - escalates into addiction and pages later she is dealing drugs, and further in the book she is committed to a psychiatric hospital; by age 17, she is dead.

Horrific. I seriously couldn't imagine a lot of what was happening. Call me a prude, call me sheltered. This is not very euphemized. At all. You'll read about how she got stoned and was raped. You'll read about how she worried about pregnancy. And how she experiences one horror after another. It seems too much to happen over two years. And this is supposedly a 15-year-old speaking! (Reads more like  middle-aged woman's diary in that respect.)

But I could definitely relate to Alice's feelings - her uncertainty, her feeling of worthlessness, her trying to "fit in," her love for and yet unexplainable moving away from family, her getting in too deep. Her swinging moods capture just how confusing adolescence is.

There's little drama here, it's just I did this, I felt like this. Despite it being written in 1971, it still is quite relevant because illegal drug use is still very much happening, and a teenager's life is always so much more hyperreal.

This is a sad and sobering story, which many can learn from ... if it doesn't scare the s*it out of them!

Verdict: Gives a personal voice to the many lives affected by drug use. While there is a huge controversy whether this a real story or not, the fact that it exposes the dark side of drug use proves itself as relevant reading, particularly for teens.

[Sidenote: I picked this one off the curb later this year, much less successful than the previous year's. This book is old and dusty and looks forbidden, if you know what I mean. Then I do a quick online search and find out it's actually a banned book.]

2 comments

  1. Great review, Aloi! I related to "Alice" the same way you did, her uncertainties, her mood swings, and her ambivalence towards her family. The book really didn't hold back any punches when it came to talking about drugs.

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    Replies
    1. no and i think that's why it's a good anti-drugs piece!

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© guiltless readingMaira Gall