Anyone remember the book"Go ask ALice"?

I’ve had this book since I was a teenager and Still read it sometimes. There’s something so creepy about it. It’s a true story taken from a 15 year old girls diary. I’ve never heard any info of who the girl actually was or where she was from. I think it would be fascinating to know more about who this girl actually was and more of the circumstances surrounding her life. Anyone know anything about who this girl was or details about her family?

Absolutely no idea who the girl was or anything about her or her family beyond what the book says.

But I remember the book well, not least because the author’s name was given on the cover as “Anonymous.” At least that’s how it is given on the cover of my copy, which I read about 1972 or so, and I guess I was some amazed because I had never seen a book where the author was just anonymous.

Do people still read it? I did, but in those days, it seemed important to parents and teachers that we read Socially Relevant Books. I seem to recall reading both Go Ask Alice and The Outsiders within a few weeks of each other at school, as well as a few others that had messages the adults in our lives were no doubt hoping we heeded.

Can’t remember when I first read this, but it must have been the late 70s or early 80s.

Even at the time I thought it was a neat bit of propoganda - some well-meaning nun or someone making up a story to scare kids into keeping away from drugs. The title - from Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” - was a bit too cute.

Anyone have any clues about it?

I know there’s a similar book, called Jay’s Journal . It’s compiled & put together by the same person who did Go Ask Alice, and it’s even creepier than the first.

Hemlock- You know, I never even thought about the possibility that it could just be propaganda. That’s an interesting theory! Do you still feel that way? Anyone else think that it was made up?

I’m fairly sure I remember hearing confirmation that the book was a hoax. Can’t remember where I heard it, but I’ll see if I can dig up a cite.

I think King of Spain is correct – that it came out a few years ago that someone in fact had written this book as anti-drug propaganda. Which is not to say that it isn’t a good book – just that it isn’t an actual diary. The listing says that it is unknown whether it is a diary or fiction.

This topic was just brought up by moi in a thread about a week or so ago. I did some Googling on it, and came up with the one link I gave, however it’s pretty clear by the searching I did that indeed, Go Ask Alice is still a hot topic out there.


According to This Site, the name of the “editor” of the book is in fact known. This is supposedly the person who worked on the “diary” to prep it for publication.

This Site seems to support that name- Beatrice Sparks, as the editor.

If this Ms. Sparks does indeed exist, then either she edited someone else’s work of pure fiction or she edited a real diary. OTOH, if you take a look at another work WRITTEN by Beatrice M. Sparks Here at this Site, the description of the plot and tone makes one wonder VERY hard if Ms. Sparks wrote “Go Ask Alice” herself…

Oh yeah, I heard it was anti drug propoganda, too. I thought it was pretty cool when I was younger, you know…oh so daring and enticing, but now I realize I was just a tool of the system. :slight_smile:

Seriously, though, it does seem a bit too good to be true, like how she starts on her life of drugs by accident. Almost like it was warning kids about getting sucked into it. And those parts where she’s all strung out and writing things down on random pieces of papers…that was a bit unbelievable. Anyway, to sum up, I used to like it, but now I find it a bit irritating, nagging almost.

Oh god, I remember when Go Ask Alice first came out – everyone read it, talked about it, and suddenly parents and teachers were on the warpath (at least in my neighborhood) looking for even the barest hint of drug use amongst us kids. The TV movie came out around a year after publication, I think. I remember being frightened watching it…

As for propaganda and whatnot, it never entered my mind – I took everything at face value that this, indeed, was a REAL diary of a REAL teenager succumbing to drug abuse.

What I couldn’t understand was 1) how she managed to hide it from her parents for so long, and 2) if she was higher than a kite the entire time she was in SF and Oregon, how did she manage to write on “scraps of paper, paper bags, etc.” AND save them?

The part that I found unbelievable was all that stuff where the first time she ran away, with her friend,a nd they opened a boutique in SF. I just don’t buy the idea of two teen girls as crazily naive as the narrator was successfully strting up a business, filing the paper work, finding suppliers, etc. This is not what happens to runaways.

Almost makes me feel like going on drugs and writing a diary just so we’d have a basis for comparison.

This was my problem as well. This girl had no idea what she was doing or where she was going in life but managed to write down her most personal thoughts while sellings drugs, her body, whatever for drugs and sleeping on the streets? Hell, if they had at least said in the story that she wanted to be a writer I could buy it.

Thank God this is Cafe Society and not General Questions, so I can say “this book’s gotta be a hoax” without having to back it up.

This book’s gotta be a hoax.

I remember thinking it was pretty dumb, but I read it less than ten years ago as a jaded teenager of the 90’s, whose friends were all smoking pot but didn’t seem to be ruining their lives.

To be fair though, I don’t remember half the details you guys have brought up, so I could be misremembering how “obviously” made up the story was.

San Francisco in 1968-70, when the book takes place, is probably the one time this could have happened. There were an awful lot of these kind of one-off businesses at that time and in that city. Scrape together the money for a two-month lease, buy what you can afford and fix it up (creatively decorated castoffs and handmade trinkets were the order of the day), create what we would now call a “coffee-house” atmosphere, so people will hang out, and pretty soon you’ve earned back what you spent on the lease, plus a cozy profit. Then book before business can slack off, the lease turns over, and the utility bills come in. The trend died off, of course, because landlords wised up and stopped giving month-to-month leases, but for a brief pocket of time, what was described in GAA was possible.

Also, they didn’t run away and immediately open the boutique; they worked for other people first. IF this did happen, the diarist probably neglected to mention that either she or her companion took out a “loan” from their employer’s till.

As far as writing on scraps of paper, well, maybe it was her way of keeping herself together. It’s clear from other entries that she needs the diary to vent and to sort her thoughts. She was only on the streets (the second running-away) for a month. There are far fewer than thirty entries in that time, and they’re not terribly coherent. And don’t homeless people/runaways often have talismans of some sort, which they protect at all costs?

I’m not defending the charges, just pointing out that the diary’s plausability can’t be fairly judged using only the standards of 2002, or even the '90s.

I agree. No way in hell do I think this book is true. Not one page. I think there was more truth to the AMITYVILLE HORROR than this thing.

It was so phoney, it insulted my intelligence.

God, i feel so naive now!! All of these years it never once occured to me that this book could be anti drug propaganda. The most amazing part of reading the book, for me, was the idea that this stuff actually happened to someone! If it was a farce, I wonder why they had her die of an overdose at the end instead of having her live happily ever after since she was no longer doing the “horrible evil” drugs? and to not expand on the storyline of how the overdose occured.
It’s also odd that no family member or friend of this girl ever came out with any comment or statement.

I suspect that it was a way to illustrate the idea that you can’t escape drugs, so you’d better not start!

Also, remember that there is alot of ground between “completely made up” and “real”: The narrator may well have interviewed dozens of girls or had wild real life experiences themselves. ANd as i remember the book is sold in the fiction section: it’s possible that they never intended anyone to “really” think it was real, though I suspect that they may also just have decided that “integrity” wasn’t as important as the all consuming goal of keeping kids off drugs.

The one part I remember from GAA is when she’s tripping (maybe?) and starts looking at her hand, inside her hand, etc. It actually made me more curious about drugs, since the only way I knew how to look inside my hand was by turning the lights off and holding a flashlight between my fingers.