Before I begin, I want to apologize for posting this review so late. I actually had this book finished about a week ago, but college related life took hold. I could say it won’t happen again, but it probably will- so bare with me.
Disclaimer: I am not paid by or affiliated with any organization, author, or publisher, and everything I write here is of my own opinion.
Unfortunately, there is not much good I can say about Go Ask Alice, and my faults with this book do not even include its most commonly received barbs: that it is a fictitious piece wrongfully posed as a real diary and that the accounts of being under the influence are inaccurate. On the first, I cannot say for sure whether or not the diary was actually written by Beatrice Sparks (though any well-read person, including myself, would have began doubting the validity of this work early on), but if Go Ask Alice were to succeed in warning children away from drugs (which I believe was its intention), then whether it is real or a work of fiction shouldn’t matter. And on the second, I have not and do not use drugs in any way, shape, or form; therefore, I have no right to discredit this novel for its so called “inaccuracy.” That being said, there are some opinions I can and will address:
1. Though this book didn’t make me want to use drugs, I can honestly say it failed at making me NOT want to use them. I refuse to use drugs because of a personal choice I made, not because Go Ask Alice scared me away.
2. Not only does the narrator have no known name, she is extremely annoying and lacks personality. Maybe I’m too much older to understand her… Maybe I’m too Christian to emphasize with a drug addict… Or maybe she’s just completely non-relatable. I wanted to reach through the pages and strangle her every time she felt the need to repeat her words three times, and then I would feel “great, great, great.” I mean, come on! Who actually talks like that in the real world?
3. I couldn’t help but notice that the narrator’s voice completely changed when she described her drug highs. It wasn’t only her emotion that changed, from depressed to fascinated. It was almost as though the drug specific entries were being written by a completely different person. I could have let this slide if she had written the entries “while” under the influence, but her experiences were always vividly portrayed as what had already happened.
4. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought quitting drugs cold turkey caused varying withdrawal symptoms. Like I said earlier, I don’t know much about drugs or even drug addicts, but the idea that the narrator would be able to quit, start back up, wonder why she ever quit in the first place, then quit again without any trouble at all seemed ridiculous to me. And this process was repeated several times in the novel. I would think she’d have some problems after constantly quitting so suddenly, but she didn’t seem affected in the least. (Again, forgive me if I’m wrong. I’m only going by what I learned throughout health lecture classes in high school and college.)
Though I didn’t very much enjoy this book, I must give it some props for even attempting to display the emotional turmoil of a young girl suffering from addiction. I may not offer Go Ask Alice to my own child (because underneath all the drugs, identity crises, and splintered relationships, resides a world of rebellion, rape, greed, and prostitution that I wouldn’t want my son or daughter to read), but I understand some mothers or fathers would. All I advise is that you read it yourself first before allowing them to.
My rating: ★★
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