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Go Ask Alice

Go Ask Alice - Beatrice Sparks, Anonymous Don't do drugs, kids. They'll turn you in to a lesbian for, like, half a day. Then you'll become a prostitute. Then your "dopy doper" friends will ruin your reputation so that nobody will ever want to marry you. Then you'll be put in a mental hospital. Then you'll die. Really, really, really!

You have to be on drugs to believe that this is a real teenager's diary.

This book is insulting to the intelligence of the reader. I promised myself that I wouldn't write 1-star reviews on here, but this book made me roll my eyes so many times that I have eye strain. I finished reading it yesterday, and I'm still laughing. If you're looking for a book with a strong anti-drug message, there are plenty of better options that are more realistic and less heavy-handed than this one. In fact, calling this book heavy-handed is probably an understatement. It clobbers you over the head with its anti-drug message until you're cross eyed and attempting to count how many pages you have left before it's over.

This book is supposedly the diary of a teenager that was written between 1968 and 1970. The narrator is a good girl (for the most part) who unknowingly takes illegal drugs at a friend's party. After that, she becomes a drug addict, starts ironing her hair, wears vests with fringe, uses slang words, disobeys her daddy, and "attracts the wrong crowd." Then, every bad thing that could possibly happen to her happens to her. She even becomes a lesbian for about a fourth of a page. When she stops using drugs, bad (and unrealistic) things continue to happen because the author really has to drive home the message. If you do drugs (even once, even unknowingly) your life is ruined forever. It's so ruined that God, your boyfriend, and your parents might not forgive you (especially if you're a poor, undeveloped secondary character). 

The unnamed narrator of this book has no personality. She's a drug addict and nothing else. Almost all of the characters are drug addicts and nothing else. They have no redeeming qualities. They are caricatures that the author manipulated  in order to deliver a message. Even the way that the narrator writes feels heavily manipulated. When she's not on drugs, she writes in an unrealistically formal way. When she's on drugs, she's casual and uses a lot of slang and cuss words. She's so drug-addled that she doesn't know the date, but she's somehow not too drug-addled to write diary entries about how drug-addled she is.

I acknowledge that I am not this book's target audience. It was meant for young teenagers in the early 1970s. I'm not a teenager, and I wasn't alive in the 1970s. The book might have had more meaning for its target audience. I also acknowledge that teenagers need books with a strong anti-drug message. I have no problem with anti-drug books. However, this book is agenda-driven, poorly researched, poorly written, alarmist, and just plain silly.