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Go Ask Alice Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 1998

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,809 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The torture and hell of adolescence has rarely been captured as clearly as it is in this classic diary by an anonymous, addicted teen. Lonely, awkward, and under extreme pressure from her "perfect" parents, "Anonymous" swings madly between optimism and despair. When one of her new friends spikes her drink with LSD, this diarist begins a frightening journey into darkness. The drugs take the edge off her loneliness and self-hate, but they also turn her life into a nightmare of exalting highs and excruciating lows. Although there is still some question as to whether this diary is real or fictional, there is no question that it has made a profound impact on millions of readers during the more than 25 years it has been in print. Despite a few dated references to hippies and some expired slang, Go Ask Alice still offers a jolting chronicle of a teenager's life spinning out of control. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.


"The Boston Globe" ...a book that all teenagers and parents of teenagers should really read.

"School Library Journal" This novel in diary form powerfully depicts the confusions of adolescence. Its impact cannot be denied.

"Library Journal" An important book, this deserves as wide a readership as libraries can give it.

"The New York Times" [This] extraordinary work for teenagers is a document of horrifying reality and literary quality. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse; 1 edition (March 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689817851
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689817854
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,809 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,043,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 25, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Presumably the diary of a teenage drug addict, GO ASK ALICE was first published when I was in junior highschool. It was widely distributed at my school, and the faculty urged the students to read it for an accurate portrait of the horrors of drug use--and read it I did. At the time I was very, very impressed by the book. But that was almost thirty years ago. Today I am 40 years old, and I am a much more critical reader than I was when I was 12. And my thoughts upon rereading this book are quite different than they were when I first came to it.

The obvious issue here is whether or not the book is what it purports to be. Upon re-reading it, I find myself willing to believe that GO ASK ALICE is indeed the diary of a teenage drug user--but I also think it has been heavily re-written in spots to intensify its anti-drug agenda. I base this observation on two points. First, whenever the book describes drugs or their effects, it suddenly changes tone and becomes very, very specific in a way that the other entries are not. Secondly, the descriptions it offers re the effects of certain drugs are exactly those you would expect of a non-drug-user writing with reference to studies available in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

This does not change the fact that this is a good book for young teenagers to read. The literary merit is zero--but that is not the point; the point is, as it always was, that casual drug use is simply not a good idea, and it places you in a situation where one thing can easily lead to another without the user being aware of the drift or having concious control. But it is also a book that needs to be read with responsible adult imput, for some of its content may need qualification. Ultimately, although dated and perhaps not quite as honest as it at first glance seems, it remains a powerful tool in any parent's anti-drug arsenal.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't mind people liking this book or gaining something from this book, but many of the adult reviewers here seem hellbent on promoting this book as either as either a major literary work or as an actual diary depicting the horrors of teen drug abuse. It is neither. I think it does potential readers, especially teen readers a true disservice to promote this book in either way. If you're doing this, you are not being honest.

It is NOT a real diary. It simply is not. It is a work of fiction created by Sparks. She continued this path - soap opera in diary form in a full-out series of books warning teens about the consequences of bad behavior. Don't believe me? Go to the Snopes Web site (you know, the one that confirms or dispells urban legends, rumors and out-and-out lies?) and read about Go Ask Alice. The researchers there confirmed that It is a work of FICTION written by SPARKS (not "Anonymous") as if it were a real diary. I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, as long as teens aren't being told this is a girl's real diary. That would be a lie. I don't believe in lying to teens, regardless of how noble you think the cause. Interesting note - Sparks, who is now in her eighties - was (maybe still is, I don't know) a member of the Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints church. She wrote books that promoted the values of her church (obey your parents, clean living, etc.) - she just seemed to forget that annoying little commandment "Thou Shalt Not Lie." Apparently, there was even a 1979 musical inspired by "Alice" follow-up "Jay's Journal" that focuses on Spark's promoting fiction as fact, taking advantage of "Jay's" family (there actually was a "Jay," but most of the book about him was fiction) to enhance her own career, etc.
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23 Comments 195 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Go Ask Alice," the tome so gloriously expounded upon by four-hundred and forty-four readers below, is a fictional account of a teenager's descent into drugs. It is "edited" by Dr. Beatrice Sparks. Now take a moment, Amazon shopper, and do a search for "Beatrice Sparks" under "Books." As you can see, Ms. Sparks knows a quite a few anonymous teenagers, each of them with a different malaise. Whether it's Annie (pregnancy) or Nancy (date rape/AIDS), Jay (drugs/Satanism) or Jennie (pills), or even Sam (gang violence), Ms. Sparks covers it all.
At the age of eleven, reading this book was a terrifying gateway into nethers of teenage existence. Now, at the age of nineteen, it has become a relic of the American War On Drugs; an antiquity like Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaigns or the "D.A.R.E." program. Like most anti-drug literature, it's well meaning, but inconsistencies ultimately get the upper hand.
"Go Ask Alice" reads like a pulp conspiracy novel, with the subject "tricked" into addiction by her friends (acid in the Cokes at a Party) who will stop at nothing to make sure she keeps taking drugs. The amount of drugs consumed throughout the book would have made Grace Slick nauseous. The climax is equally laughable.
David Toma had it right when he said that the most important factor in keeping kids off drugs was the unconditional love and care of a family. Maybe Ms. Sparks should have written a book on that instead.
---- For those who can stomach a truly candid book about drug use, seek out "Naked Lunch" by William S. Burroughs. For those who lack the patience to actually READ a book, watch Soderbergh's "Traffic."
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