"Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather, and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know." - John Keats

"You're not allowed to say anything about books because they're books and books are, you know, God." - Nick Hornby

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Review #51: Go Ask Alice, Anonymous

Somehow I made it through my teenage years and young adulthood without ever having read Go Ask Alice. I had heard of it, of course, but it never interested me. So when I came across it in a used bookstore, I figured it was worth the fifty cents.

The story goes that Go Ask Alice is a collection of diary entries from a fifteen year old girl who stumbles down the rabbit hole of drug use. No mention is ever made of a year, although from the description of clothes and "Establishment", one could assume the mid to late sixties. She's never named.

She is portrayed as a good girl and the beginning part of her diary talks about the usual teenage things: clothes, boys, how annoying her parents are, and what it must be like to kiss someone. And then, about fifty pages in, things take a turn. She is given LSD in her Coca Cola at a party, and has a fantastic trip. Instead of being turned off, she wants more, and soon she is dealing. Her efforts to come clean fail, and she eventually runs away.

A couple of stints in rehab, a few tumbles off the wagon, another lost six months, and the girl winds up back home, determined to stay clean, but her old buddies can't leave her alone. She wakes up in what appears to be an asylum. It's never really explained, but the reader is lead to believe that she was intentionally drugged. Shortly after she leaves rehab, she writes that she's leaving her diary behind. A postscript to the book notes that the author of the diary was found dead. It's not known whether it was an accidental or intentional overdose, but then, as the postscript says, it doesn't really matter, because she's still dead.

Go Ask Alice is chilling, without a doubt, but I can't help but wonder (and here's where I'm showing my age), if the kids these days would see it the same way I did.

No comments:

Post a Comment