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GAA.jpgHigh school is a time of trying to find oneself, but with that also comes the conflict of trying to fit in. This is the overall struggle of the teen girl in the book Go Ask Alice. The fifteen-year-old girl’s journal describes her want to have tons of friends, for boys to like her, and her parents to understand her. But, she also wants all this to happen without completely conforming to high school social standards, “Kids are like robots off an assembly line, and I don’t want to be a robot!”

The book begins with the teen’s first journal entry in September and ends with the last entry of her second journal in September the following year. Through out this single year she encounters more things than many people do before they turn twenty. A trip back to her anonymous home town, to visit her grandparents for the summer, changes a fifteen-year-old girl’s life forever.

That summer the teen gets invited to a party. More excited about actually being noticed, she never suspects that this day will begin her downward spiral into the drug world, “Oh Diary, I’m so happy I could cry!” Though her first experience with LSD could be considered an accident, she has no regrets, “It sounds morbid when I put this into words, but actually it was tremendous and wonderful and miraculous.”

From this point our main character attempts to convince herself that she is not addicted, but it is clearly obvious that she is. Her first experience with LSD leads her to seek out other drugs. The drugs ranged from uppers, such as acid, and downers, such as sleeping pills. Eventually, she finds herself running away to San Francisco with a friend where she tries heroine.

After running away two times the teen turned hippie always finds herself wanting to return home. While in Denver the adolescent meets Alice. Alice seems to be a representation of how most of the teen-runaway-addicts feel, “She didn’t know if she was running away from something or running to something, but she admitted tat deep in her heart she wanted to go home.”

Along with her experimentation with drugs, the girl begins to tell her diary about all the casual sex she has been having. A number of times she has close calls with being pregnant but this nightmare never becomes reality. This also goes as far as performing sexual favors in exchange for a small amount of drugs.

This complicated year in this teen’s life is documented in two journals. These journals take the reader on a ride through the world of drugs. We see the teen struggle with staying clean and relapsing over and over. She fights to get her life straightened out and the way it was before all the drugs, “All the kids at school pretty much know who’s on and who’s off and I want to get in with the square kids.”

This book is recommended for not only teens, but also any person facing the gut-wrenching battle against drugs. Schools across the globe all face levels of drug activity to some extent—any teen that has ever encountered this activity to some extent can relate to this stories premise and meanings. Go Ask Alice is for those who have thought about, experimented with, or are totally immersed in the world of drugs. Those who have felt pressured to conform to fit the norm and are uncomfortable in their own skin can relate to this girl’s battle at fitting in and being at ease with herself for who she truly is.

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Just as the content of Go Ask Alice is filled with controversy, the rights to authorship are as well. A short while after its publication, Beatrice Sparks, a psychologist and counselor, claimed to be the diary’s editor. Sparks is also the books sole copyright holder and claimed that the diary was based off of the life of one of her patients, yet certain entries were fictional or based off of the lives of other patients.

This “diary,” originally published anonymously as nonfiction, is now considered by many to be a simple work of anti-drug propaganda. This argument is supported by arguments based around the exclusive drug content of the diary, removed from many social aspects of teenage life. The language and reoccurring topics of discussion do not seem fit for a teenage girls private diary.

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(SPOILER WARNING!!!!)

In 1973 ABC made a made for TV movie film adaptation of the novel. The movie stared Jamie Smith Jackson as the teen and followed the order of events in the book.





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