Go Ask Alice by Anonymous (Beatrice Sparks)
I first read this book about 6 years ago and it really stuck with me, maybe because I was the same age as her and going through a similar teenage turmoil or it just interested me to read about someone else’s experiences. I’ve read it 3 times now and still love it.
Go Ask Alice is about a 15 year old girl who discovers drugs. It is based on a actual diary of a 15 year old drug user. The book is set in the 1960’s and it begins as any other teenage girls life would. With parents who don’t understand and insecurities about sex and her appearance. What makes her different from all the rest is her diary. Longing to have someone who understands her and accepts her, but forever being failed, she finds herself immersed in a drug culture she just can’t quite escape from. The strong feelings of love and connections she makes with people on her journey is only through the haze of the drugs often ending up deceived and victimised by the people she thought were her friends, who turned out to be junkies or people who just wanted to take advantage of her.
Her diary is her safe place, throughout the novel she writes to it in a conversational style as if it was a friend she was speaking to, for example, “Oh Diary, I’m so happy I could cry! It did happen! Jill called…” Her diary is the only thing that steadily stays with her throughout her journey, from her first entries of living at home to her traumatic descriptions in the State Mental Hospital. Knowing only herself reads the diary she writes everything down in her head without being judged or rejected.
Alice starts the diary because she feels she doesn’t have anyone to talk too. As she comes across the drug culture she searches for someone who understands her but the drugs only create a temporary illusion that she has found what she’s been searching for. Alice is a gifted writer, and poetically composes her outlook on her depressing view of the world. ” I don’t know what the hell hour or day or even ear it is, or even what town. I guess I’ve had a blackout or they’ve been passing bad pills. The girl on the grass beside me is white faced and Mona Lisa like and she’s preggers.”
Alice’s problems are just as relevant now as they were in the 1960’s. Her experiments with drugs soon turn into her entire world, as her ambitions, language and appearance change dramatically as the diary goes on, its in insight how how much drugs can effect you. For Alice drugs were a way for her to connect with others, offering a powerful escape from the boring life her parents gave her. Blurring the line between whats real and whats not, even though she went back to live with her parents in the end, she died. After testing her fate more than a few times Alice died in the hands of drugs. This book was so powerful to me as it made me want to run away and experience this scary unknown lifestyle Alice created, but also made me feel so lucky for having family and friends around me who I could talk to and share my feelings with.