Evan's Reviews > Go Ask Alice

Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks
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This book has it all: Teen sex, preteen whores, gay and lesbian sex (not looked upon favorably), drug usage of all types, rape, hippies, communes, hitchhiking, lecherous bohemians, wild parties, drug pushing to 9-year-old grade-school kids, Berkeley burnouts, surreal drug dreams, lots of imagery involving death and maggots, teen vengeance and peer/herd cruelty and vicious rumor-mongering, babies in peril, cats spun in washing machines, girls in an insane asylum, menstruation and teen pregnancy issues, glue sniffing, body image woes and purging, and references to fucking as "balling," a term which fell out of usage to that effect approximately in the fall of 1974.

And for all of that - FOR ALL OF THAT! - the book is a BORE!

I mean, what can you say? We all know this thing is a fake; and passages such as the one where her dad cites statistics on VD and suicide and other social ills and somehow she manages to remember and write them down verbatim hours later in the "diary" kind of give the thing away.

I like the attempt at "authentic" touches, eg.: "Everyone knows that sex and shit* go together," with the asterisked "shit" referenced at the page bottom as "*drugs" just in case the shocked adults aren't hip to the diarist's youthful lingo.

The writing style goes from the goo-goo-ga-ga golly gee-willikers level to the usage of more sophisticated words such as "nary" and "woebegone" at the drop of a hat.

I am wondering how, when our diarist heroine was in the gutter and writing her diary entries on paper bags and such, she managed to maintain the clarity of mind to actually stow away these inconvenient pages to get them pasted back into the diary. And, presuming that she kept the diary with her (since she had it with her on all her travels, based on the dates and locales) -- and based on the fact that the diary is said to have not been filled -- why she would need to use scraps of other kinds of paper at all. (Methinks the REAL author has trapped herself in her own dramatic license... The Hercule Poirot in me, folks.)

The boffo bleak abrupt ending is probably what takes the wind out of most readers' sails. The book is a cautionary exploitation classic in the grand tradition -- with Gramps and Granmamma and gingerbread men and Christmas trees and God and Holy Matrimony and virginity always imperiled by the lurking dark menace ever at hand. It's one of those books where LSD and pot are put on the same level to create guilt by association, as in the sentence: "Anyone who says pot and acid are not addicting are foolish!" In fact, our woebegone gal tries all the hard substances first, but it's pot that throws her over the edge. Riiiiigghhttt...

I'm giving the thing two stars for sociological interest and for at least being a fast-enough read to not have wasted too much of my life.
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Reading Progress

February 12, 2010 – Shelved
April 27, 2010 – Started Reading
April 27, 2010 – Shelved as: fucked-up-women
April 27, 2010 – Shelved as: 1960s
April 27, 2010 – Shelved as: retro-lounge-funky
April 27, 2010 –
page 20
April 27, 2010 – Shelved as: ebook-special-coll
April 27, 2010 –
page 40
18.78% "rather quaint, ain't it?"
April 27, 2010 –
page 60
April 27, 2010 –
page 90
42.25% "Oh the humanity! She's writing the diary on...on.. paper bags! How low one can stoop in the throes of demon drug."
April 27, 2010 –
page 150
April 27, 2010 – Shelved as: 2010-reads
April 27, 2010 –
page 185
April 28, 2010 – Finished Reading
June 24, 2011 – Shelved as: drugs-n-shit
August 4, 2013 – Shelved as: all-time-hall-of-shame
April 1, 2016 – Shelved as: none-too-good
May 26, 2016 – Shelved as: snuffed-young
May 26, 2016 – Shelved as: psycho-drama
May 26, 2016 – Shelved as: pulp-trash

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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David Well put, sir! I have to say I agree completely with your assessment.

...well, completely besides the 2 stars business. ;-)

message 2: by Evan (last edited Apr 28, 2010 01:02PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Evan David wrote: ...well, completely besides the 2 stars business. ;-)"

Well, I know, but anything that prompts me to write a devastating review gets at least a small part of my heart.

Moriah Writes-a-lot I really liked the book but I still really liked your review too.

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I was very young and had no knowledge of the world so I was so freaking scared of pot from this book. Hahaa...now I laugh because it was written for the very young and naive. This def would not have gotten past me now though. :)

Evan I think I lost it when weed was the nail in the coffin after all the shit she'd done. So hilarious. Thanks for reading this. This review was one of the most fun ones I ever wrote.

Tbrando wrote: "I was very young and had no knowledge of the world so I was so freaking scared of pot from this book. Hahaa...now I laugh because it was written for the very young and naive. This def would not hav..."

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