Review: Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

Title: Go Ask Alice
Author: Anonymous (*Note: Her real name is Beatrice Sparks)
 (1/5 Stars)
Paperback, 213 Pages
Published January 2006 (first published 1971)

Alright, before we begin, a bit of a disclaimer for all of you so you don't just assume I'm a book-bashing kind of person: I'm not fond of writing negative reviews. Books like Go Ask Alice just need to be vented about, and since I'm the co-author of book blog, the internet seems like the perfect place to do it.

Here's a quick summary of the book, so you aren't TOO confused:

"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."

So, earlier this evening I finally forced myself to finish Go Ask Alice by Anonymous, who is actually Beatrice Sparks. I don't know how long ago she was outed, but the Goodreads database pinned her as the author and publicly shamed her. Why, do you ask, did they publicly shame her?

I'll tell you. This story, Go Ask Alice, is supposed to be a primary source. Yeah, you heard me. It's supposed to be the real-life diary of a fifteen year old drug addict named Alice. As I just pointed out, it's not. It's a total lie. A total fraud. Not even did the reviews on Goodreads hint me towards that--I knew it right away, once I read the first diary entry.

Here's one. Even though it's supposed to be written in the 1970's, does this sound like a fifteen year old girl to you?:

"Wow! I'm really living! I have a job. Chris asked her boss last night and he said yes. Isn't that the greatest?! I'll be working with Chris on Thursday nights and on Friday nights and all day Saturday and I'll be able to buy anything my non-conforming little heart desires."

If I could sum up Go Ask Alice in a single sentence, this would be it: one of the absolute worst books I have ever read. There really isn't even much more to say. It was just so poorly written--one day she was swearing off drugs, the next: "Oh, I really can't wait to try pot! I really, really, really can't wait!" It's supposed to be told in the POV of a 15 year old teen. Even if this book was written in 1971, my parents both confirmed that none of them talked as childishly as Alice did throughout the book. (Not even drug related--she just sounded like she was four.)

I picked up this book because I thought it was going to be a dramatic, tragic life story. It was absolutely nothing of the sort.

And, since we've already established that this is a fake, made-up diary and not a real one, this is how you can tell how poorly the writing was done and how desperate of an attempt the author was making to keep teenage kids away from drugs (*SPOILER ALERT*):

"The subject of this book died three weeks after her decision not to keep another diary. Her parents came home from a movie and found her head. Was it an accidental overdose? No one knows, and in some ways that question isn't important. What must be of concern is that she died (ahem, no Ms. Sparks, she actually didn't, so you're a liar), and that she was only one of thousands of drug deaths that year."




I'm so frustrated right now that I want to punch the screen of my laptop. But I love my laptop, so I won't do that.

(Side note: Hmm. Looks like whenever I'm furious about a book, I seem to have so much I want to say. But when I really like a book, I have to drag the sentences out...huh.)

It's not very common that I really dislike a book. Sure, there are a few that I think weren't the best or were "just okay." But in all honesty, I wouldn't recommend Go Ask Alice to anyone out there. I'd rather just save them the 24 hours they'd be wasting to sit down and read this junk.

Sigh. Well, now that I'm all upset...I guess I'll just go start reading a book that I actually enjoy.

(*Notice: Once again, as I've said before, I'm not fond of writing negative reviews. As I mentioned above, books like this just need to be vented about, and since I'm the co-author of book blog, the internet seems like the perfect place to do it. I also want to make sure that people are aware of how unsatisfying this book is, so they can be fairly warned.)

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