Review: Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

tired. cannot be blamed for spaciness of this review. love all my awesome readers and visitors! 

need sleep. 

title:  Go Ask Alice

author: Anonymous

pages: 224

format: Paperback

isbn/asin: 978-1416914631

buy it: Amazon

rating: 4/5 [in the genre] or 7/10 [all books I’ve ever read].

recommended for:  Teenagers.  Anyone interested in drugs or substance abuse.  Adults with children or without children.  Someone looking for a heavy read.  Fans of Jay Asher or Carmen Rodrigues.

After you've had it, there isn't even life without drugs....

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.

Read her diary.

Enter her world.

You will never forget her.

For thirty-five years, the acclaimed, bestselling first-person account of a teenage girl's harrowing decent into the nightmarish world of drugs has left an indelible mark on generations of teen readers. As powerful -- and as timely -- today as ever, Go Ask Alice remains the definitive book on the horrors of addiction.

the basics
So yes, it's not a real journal. That kind of stung.  However, it's still a great book.  The story is extreme, but it's told in an innocent enough way--young girl gets pulled into drugs on accident and tries just a little bit more each time.  Each little bit making her more comfortable with the next little bit.  Unlike many readers, I found her story plausible.  What I disliked was the melodramatic, maudlin writing style.  The main character speaks and writes like a character from Leave it to Beaver.  You get used to it, but it's still really annoying.  Too sweet, too gushing, too exuberantly emotional.  And for a diary, too artificial.  However, you do feel for this girl, and there are some great stylistic points, such as the week or so of date-less diaries during the narrator's drug-induced fugue.  Pretty neat way to portray it.  All in all, worth a read.

plot . 4/5
I can understand the criticisms.  The plot does move pretty fast, in places.  One accidental acid trip and all of the sudden, she's spiraling further down the hole!  But I don't think it's as fast as people make it sound.  She tries something, has fun, and then tries a few more things.  It's a very typical, realistic progression that goes too far because of her naivete and innocent exploration.  What I had an issue with was the ending.  Things seem to be going really well for a while.  I'm aware of relapses and such, common occurrences, but I just didn't feel any sense of foreboding.  It was like happysparklyrainbowsI'mcured and then she ODs.  I would have preferred something more like Ellen Hopkins' Crank, where the ending is happy but infected with the fear of relapse.  It would have felt more genuine.

concept . 5/5
Not really new now, but pretty innovative for its time.  Even though it's not a real diary, it's an interesting gimmick, pretending that it is.  It makes you think more about what if this is a real person.  It puts some cracks in that wall you try to keep up between the books you read and the real world.  Having it as a diary is also great, because you don't get the whole story.  You have to trust the narrator, and it's so easy to see how things like hope and temporary promises can break so easily.  It's easy to see what the narrator can't.

characters . 4/5
There were a lot of people, which made it hard to keep track.  I understand that this is pretty normal for real teenagers, but honestly, in a book setting, you need to offer a little bit of consistency.  It wasn't a huge problem, just made it a little hard to follow sometimes.  Also, I thought the narrator was great for the most part--relatable, sweet, hopeful--but she did have her inconsistent points.  Her decline was pretty fast, considering how innocent she was to begin with.  I'd have liked to see more in-depth portrayal of the unsettled feelings that made her seek drugs as an outlet.

style . 3/5
If you get annoyed easily by sort of 50s to 70s era "gee" and "groovy" and "neat" and such, this may be a hard style for you to swallow.  The narrator throws around a lot of slang that just doesn't feel natural.  She also gushes.  Too much.  It felt artificial.  Like a girl talking about the ever so sweet awesome neat great great great day she had to her parents to get them off her case.  Not someone writing in a diary.  I got used to it, though, and started to incorporate it into the narrator's character over time.

mechanics . 5/5
The diary format was awesome.  No complaints here.  Contains some situations like drug use and sex that should be a consideration for younger or sensitive readers.

take home message
Not quite as brilliant as the hype suggests, but still a solid read and a great portrayal of one girl's slide into chaos.

Note: I purchased this copy. The price of the book and its origin in no way affected my stated opinions.


  1. I borrowed this from a friend but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I hope it is as good as everyone says it is!

    1. I wasn't as thrilled with it as I'd hoped to be, but it was still a good read.