Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
ISBN-13: 978-1416914631
Simon Pulse, New York, 2005
224 p.

GENRE: Realistic Fiction

TEASER: She first got high when someone spiked her drink with LSD at a party. Once you have it you can never go back.

SUMMARY: This is the story of an anonymous teen who is like most teenaged girls. She worries about school, fitting in, her looks, and boys. Everything changes when her drink is spiked with LSD at a party. Her journal chronicles her descent into addiction.

CRITIQUE: The story is written in an epistolary voice or journal style. Most of the journal entries are dated. There are sections of the book that are dated with only a question mark. These entries are during her long trips when she has no idea what day, time or even what year it is. We see her personality go through drastic changes as she gets further into drugs. At the beginning and during some of the times when she’s clean she is sweet, considerate, and extremely vulnerable. She is constantly worried about what other people think of her and being accepted by friends and family. When she first starts to use drugs she feels more confident and happy with herself. During some of her heavier trips her personality becomes very hostile and sometimes despondent.

I’m not sure where I stand on the debate about the authenticity of the author. It feels a bit unbelievable that it all was from a real girls journal. The sections that are supposedly from random pieces of paper seem implausible. She was tripping pretty hard. I find it hard to believe that she could keep track of all this pieces of paper or be able to write in such a clear manner. However, I feel like it is handled with a great deal of honesty and realism.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: The author of this book is stated as anonymous because it was supposedly created from the journal entries of a real drug addicted teen. However, some believe that it is a work of fiction and Beatrice Sparks, a psychologist and Mormon youth counselor is the author. She is the sole copyright owner for Go Ask Alice and is listed as the author not the editor. She later claimed in an interview in 1979 that the book was based off a journal from one of her patients and that she added the elements based off of her dealings with troubled teens. She claimed that she could not show the original diary because parts were destroyed while transcribing it and the rest was locked away.

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: N/A

READING LEVEL: 14+

CHALLENGE ISSUES: This book contains serious drug addiction, sexual content, rape, and self harm.

DEFENSE: I would suggest looking at the ALA’s support page for challenged materials.

CURRICULUM TIES: Possibly Health

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: When the main character is off the drugs, she is extremely self conscious and vulnerable. Do you feel like she was more at risk for drug addiction?

WHY INCLUDED: Drug addiction is a serious problem that teenagers are vulnerable to. Even though some of the material in this book is difficult to read, it is important for teenagers to see what drug addiction can do to them and their families.