Please, dear reader, DO NOT mistake the grim made-for-tv-esque Go Ask Alice by Anonymous for an entry in the Alice Series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor that I wrote about in my last post.
This “Alice” starts out as sensitive, insecure 15-year-old who keeps a diary and winds up addicted to drugs. After a few on again, off again rides of the drug roller coaster, and some pretty awful experiences she finally starts to get her life together, but her old druggie friends wont let her escape.
Sadly, this book reads like a “This is your brain on drugs” PSA penned by Jan Brady from the Brady Bunch.
The Brady Bunch opening grid, season one (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is ham-fisted as it details all the horrible stuff that happens to “Alice” but it is written in a bizarrely syrupy-sweet style that has the diarist ping-ponging between love, love, loving her family (because they are really the very best people in the world) and wondering if she should give her unsuspecting little brother, Tim, a hit of acid so he knows just how hard her life is.
Allegedly a found diary of a young girl, Go Ask Alice is really a book of fiction. It is listed as as such on the copyright page. It was probably written by its editor Beatrice Sparks. Sparks went on to “edit” other diaries
The books deal with topical issues such as drug abuse, Satanism, teenage pregnancy or AIDS, and are presented as cautionary tales. [Goodreads]
but I have a hard time believing that anyone could read this book and take it as cautionary. I suspect that young readers would think the book is a joke. It is so very, very square and clearly written to try to frighten the reader not to do drugs. The VERY dated writing style doesn’t help this book. It is just bad, bad, bad. (And way over the top.) John Green’s Looking For Alaska is a MUCH better written book that covers some of the same material in a contemporary manner.
A book about a teenager who takes drugs and has sex is sure to score high on the banned book matrix and it does.
- Offensive Language,
- Drug, Alcohol, Smoking,
- Sexually Explicit,
- Unsuited for Age Group,
- and even a touch of Occult Satanism when Alice is lost on a drub binge in California…
but my guess is that you wouldn’t HAVE to ban it, who’d want to read it?
The title of the book is based on a the Jefferson Airplane song of the same name. So if you want trippy look at drug culture in the late Sixties here you go…
And, ah yeah… They DID make the book into a TV movie of the week. Starring none other than William Shatner as Alice’s father. Now THAT’S trippy.
English: William Shatner photographed by Jerry Avenaim (Photo credit: Wikipedia)