I decided to do a discussion of Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks instead of a review because of the contiversial nature of this book.
COULD BE ANYONE.
COULD BE SOMEONE YOU KNOW.
With over a million copies in print, Go Ask Alice has become a classic of our time. This powerful real-life diary of a teenager’s struggle with the seductive — often fatal — world of drugs and addiction tells the truth about drugs in strong and authentic voice. Tough and uncompromising, honest and disturbing — and even more poignant today — Go Ask Alice is page-turning and provocative reading.
This fiction piece is controversial not only for the subject it deals with, but also because for years it has been advertised as a real diary when in actuality it was written soely by a woman named Beatrice Sparks in 1971. The book was also banned at many schools shortly after it was published all the way into the early 2000s for its content.
When I first heard that Go Ask Alice was not actually a real diary I was angry and disappointed. I had such high hopes for this book to be a great insight into the mind of a teenager as she experiences various drugs until eventually everything sprirals out of control, but what I got was a woman’s interpretation of what a teenagers mind would be like going through the stages of addiction. Which would have been fine if I would have known from the beginning that it was not actually a true account.
I have always loved to read novels that educate others about metal illness and addiction. I have read many fiction novels about these type of topics because they have always been intriguing for me, but at the end of the day I always knew that it was a story backed up by research and that never bothered me. In fact, those are some of my favorite novels to read.
Go Ask Alice was hard for me to continue to read after obtaining the knowledge of its inauthenticity. So, I took a short break from it, cleared my head, and changed my mindset before I continued on.
In the end I came up with these reasons to continue on reading:
- The 1970’s was a time where drugs were severely feared. This book was written to warn teens of the dangers of drugs and I wanted to continue to read to discover more about the mindset of the 1970’s.
- While I was upset about the turn of events I was also incredibly curious to see how the story would turn out.
- Alice was a character that I may not have particularly like, but the drama of her life intrigued me. The way she bounced back and forth between saying that while she was on drugs the experience was beautiful and being disgusted with herself for wanting them drew me in.
- I had read many reviews on Goodreads that say how terrible the book is and I wanted to formulate an opinion on my own, keeping in mind both sides. I wanted to read the book for its merits.
- This book is simply an interesting read and I wanted to finish it.
The Actual Content
It was interesting to read a book in the form of diary entries, but in some ways it gives off a distant feeling from the characters and plot. I grew to like some characters and I to dislike other characters, but a lot of things felt a little bit easier for me to stomach, because the diary entry is the aftermath and not ‘in the action’. Plus, it also lacked suspense, because she only seemed to write when something she believed to be interesting was happening. There is also a lot of gaps in the days so it feels like your getting a snipet of who a person is and not the whole.
Alice as a character felt like she wanted to do some good, but she was a victim of circumstance. However, after her accidental first dose of drugs it felt like she was dazzled by them and as she continued to use it slowly warped her brain just ever so slightly.
There was a lot of back and forth between her using and not using. Between thinking drugs were the most beautiful thing in the world and being the most terrible. This internal struggle is the heart of what this book is about. As well as showing the reader on of the worst case examples of what could happen if you try drugs and get into the wrong crowd of friends.
There was also the fear factor and feeling of hopelessness you get when you realize no matter how much she wants to she can never quite leave the drug world no matter how much she may want to. That her addicted ‘friends’ would mistreat her so terribly for leaving.
What I didn’t like was that there was no getting better, but maybe that’s what makes this story more ‘true’. Sometimes, for many people, there is no getting better and that’s the sucky, unfair, unjust, and downright depressing part of life, but I am not one to be cool with feeling this negatively about things so I leave you with the following note.
If your reading this be good to those you love. Be good to those you don’t. Spread some joy. Smile often and live happily, because life is what you make of it and if you want it to be good you can make it so. Don’t worry about things too much, because years from now you will wonder why you were worried at all.
Spread some love! Stay wonderful!
Let me know what you think. Have you read this book? If you did, what were your thoughts on it?
Thank you for reading!
-Till next time!