Go Ask Alice

I’m starting a YA Book Club at my library, and so I have been pouring over YA titles lately, trying to see which ones our library system has enough of.  I came across Go Ask Alice in a list of classic teen novels, and though I have heard of this book before, I didn’t know much about it, so I started to read up on it.  The concept intrigued me, probably more because of the urban legend feel to it, the questions of whether this is really a true diary or not.  We had a copy in our branch, so I picked it up and took it home to read.

This is, well, an interesting book.  I think a lot of whether it is a really good book rests on whether this was a true account or not; sometimes I got a little confused as to who was where and when, etc., and sometimes I found the writing to seem a little complex for a 15 year old scribbling in her diary, but I guess I didn’t find it totally unbelievable, either.  Basically, this story is just sad and a bit disturbing.  The ups and downs of her life, and the mystery of what happened to her after she stopped writing in the diary are worth reading about.

As for how well this book does as a deterrent against drug use is another question, however.  For me, I was a teen that was thoroughly uninterested in drugs, even when some of those around me did them, and so a book like this would have only strengthened my already strong resolve not to delve into that world.  For a teen curious about drugs, or already into them, however, I’m not really sure this book would offer a way out.  The writer never really talks about drugs being bad; the circumstances around the drugs are what suck, and I could easily see someone reading this and thinking *yeah, but I wouldn’t do that…*.  So, I don’t know.  What I do see is a seemingly honest depiction of what it is like to be a teenaged girl.  Having been one myself, I could definitely see truth in the way the writer’s emotions wavered, and the fears and joys and hopes she had.  And I suppose that is the point of this story, that it is just an account of one girl’s life.

Tentatively, I am going to give this book four stars.  This, however, rests on the assumption that this diary was the actual diary of a girl (there is a lot of evidence to the contrary, but I guess I am holding onto the legend).  It’s ending is sad, and through the pages of the diary you see how things could have been different, and you wish (I wished) they could have been. ****

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