I've noticed this book everytime I go to the bookstore. Since I'm a huge fan of Young Adult books, I would usually find Go Ask Alice and it would always intrigue me. Last week I was at Chamblin Bookmine and I finally grabbed it. Go Ask Alice is the harrowing first-hand account of a young girl driven to the brink of madness by her decent into drug use.
The good: It really took a little work for me to find the good in this book. I guess that if you're 12 or 13 years old, the information in this book might be shocking. It could definitely give a young teenager a glimpse and "warning" into the dangers of drug use. Other than that, there wasn't much else that was good about it.
The bad: If you're looking for a sincere glimpse into the life of a drug addict... look elsewhere. I felt like it was cliche and corny. The book was first published in 1971, so it's very dated. This book might have been more relevant about 20 years ago... but now it just missed the mark.
I'm going to flip the pages of the book and see what I run across to make my point:
"Oh Diary, I'm so happy I could cry!"
"Oh terrors, horror, endless torment."
"I'm getting bored to the teeth."
Another "problem" I had - at one point our narrator is put into a mental hospital for going into a mental breakdown after overdosing on LSD. Apparently, in the midst of her arrest and detention she manages to bring her beloved diary with her into the mental ward. She also takes her diary along for the ride when she's homeless on the streets of San Francisco. Really? I guess it's plausible... but pretty unlikely considering the events that she describes.
The verdict: There was just so much about this story that bothered me. I wanted to like it. I really tried... but it just didn't work out for me. I didn't feel that Go Ask Alice taught me anything I didn't know about the dangers of drug use. I didn't find myself shocked or appalled at all. A lot of this might have been due to my age and the other horrific drug memoirs that I've read (Try Beautiful Boy...). Most of all, I didn't feel that reading this book would deter a teenager from using drugs. In this day and age, this book is dated and there's probably better books out there to show to your teenager.
Another problem was the supposed "Anonymous" author. After a little digging on the internet, I discovered that Ms. Anonymous is actually Beatrice Sparks, a Mormon Youth counselor with a few books dealing with difficult subjects ranging from Satanism to teenage pregnancy. She claims to have only edited and compiled the information from the diary but that the content is completely authentic. I have my doubts!