Monday, January 9, 2012

Just For Fun 2012 Reading Challenge: Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

Go Ask Alice is the book I chose for my January selection of the Just For Fun 2012 Reading Challenge.  You can click here to see my complete list on Goodreads.

Book Info:

ISBN #: 978-1416914631
Page Count: 214
Copyright: 1971
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

It started when she was served a soft drink laced with LSD in a dangerous party game. Within months, she was hooked, trapped in a downward spiral that took her from her comfortable home and loving family to the mean streets of an unforgiving city. It was a journey that would rob her of her innocence, her youth - and ultimately her life.

Mandy's Review:

I've seen all the hype about Go Ask Alice. I've read about how much people love the book and think it's the greatest thing ever. About how controversial and sad it is to read a 15-year-old's diary concerning drugs and the effects of living a life full of them. All of this was the reason I was eager to add this to my TBR pile and read it for this challenge.

The book is divided into two "diaries," the second one being started when the first one was full. I will start my review with the first diary.

I did not care for it. It did not sound at all like a 15-year-old would sound. While reading it, all I kept picturing was an adult writing the book trying to make it sound like a 15-year-old girl. Here are some examples from the book of why I do not think this came from an actual 15-year-old's diary:
  • From page 9: Dear precious Diary, I am baptizing you with my tears. I know we have to leave and that one day I will even have to leave my father and mother's home and go into a home of my own. But ever I will take you with me.
  • From page 24: We'll pick her up on the way, but I just had to stop and jot the whole ecstatic experience down. It's just too tremendous and delightful and wonderful to keep all bottled-up inside.
  • From page 64-65: Goodbye dear home, goodbye good family. I really am leaving mostly because I love you so much and I don't want you to ever know what a weak and disreputable person I have been.

Not only do those passages not sound as a 15-year-old would write them, but other things annoyed me as well ... One day everything would be sunshine and rainbows and "I won't touch drugs ever again" type thing, then, next thing you know, everything sucks and is horrible and drugs are the most wonderful thing ever to take her away from it all. I got so tired of reading the back-and-forth internal monologue.

Now, I understand that teenagers are dramatic (I did used to be one) and that everything can seem great one day and terrible the next, but I've also been on drugs and alcohol before. While drugs seem like fun at the time you're doing them, you're not going to experience an intense desire for them right away like the diary writer seemed to. It's been my experience that it takes awhile to become dependent on them.

Diary two seems to be where the girl is starting a new life without drugs. This is where the book gets interesting for me. Finally, I become engaged in her story. Finally, I believe that this may be a diary written by a 15-year-old girl.

Her struggle to live a life without drugs in the same town with the same people she used to do drugs with is a very intense and, almost, heart-wrenching tale. She garnered my sympathy and empathy every time one of her old "friends" came around trying to set her up or harm her. Every time she resisted, I became prouder and prouder of her determination to not go back to the old lifestyle. It infuriated me when I read about the laced chocolate-covered peanuts that sent her flying off into la-la land. Then I read that she died three weeks after her last diary entry. Which makes me wonder ...

Was she really off of the drugs?
Did she lie in her diary in case anybody read it?
Was there really laced chocolate-covered peanuts?
Or did somebody stop by and bring her a hit?

I have so many questions about this book that I didn't enjoy it like I was hoping I would. I'm aware that my opinion of this book varies greatly from the mass population, but it is what it is.

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