Go ask Alice is based on the actual diary of a fifteen – year – old drug user.
The 15 year old girl who is the author of the book is anonymous. It can be difficult to place the book in a special category, but fictional autobiography is more or less adequate if the question is raised wether the book is fabricated or not. The book is about drug problems in general and allows us to peek into the world of adolescents many problems, but does not offer any solutions. At the end she loses grip of it all.
The setting is in USA about 30 years ago. The 70´s was the time of hippies, freedom and peace, but it was also a special drug – consuming age, and drugs were widely abused by many youths.
We get to meet many characters in the book, and Alice has the leading part in it. Besides Alice, we hear a lot about her family, her mom, her dad, her little brother and sister and also her grandparents. Even though Alice’s family seems to be very loving they didn’t manage at all to see through her facade, where she kept all her troubles and questions, and never shared them with anyone, besides her diary. She also writes a lot about Joel because they are in love with each other. Joel is an 18 year old boy who lost his father when he was seven years old.
He is an understanding person and he’s being very supportive for Alice and acting mature for his age. Alice herself describes him as “the most warm, compassionate, forgiving, loving, most understanding person in the world.”
The theme tells us that Alice seems to be a normal, average teenager even if she is a little socially awkward. She often prefers books to people and she also has a hard time being herself around her friends, and she knows it. She looks at it all as some kind of a game were she at all time has to maintain her facade and not do or say what she thinks will make the others look down at her.
As I wrote earlier, the book doesn’t give us any answers to solve the drug problem or any other problems. It doesn’t even let us know exactly why Alice died and that means that there is room for many questions and it is up to the reader to find answers.
Why the book was written is pretty obvious if you choose to look at this as a non-fabricated book. It was Alice’s only true friend that she could really talk to, but what if it has been edited? Can we see any message written between the lines? We can also ask ourselves if Alice being uncertain about herself, and more or less unsociable had anything to do with her starting to use drugs. She quickly found out that getting high on drugs was a good feeling at the time and all her troubles faded and this does offcourse attract Alice.
And we must also question ourselves if the fact that Alice and her parents were on totally different wavelengths could have been avoided if they knew more about her situation and if they perhaps had learned about some of the things that characterize young drug-addicts.
The plot is mostly Alice going forth and back in the use of drugs. When she finally manages to get out of her problems and everything is going well the situation suddenly turns and she is back on it. Alice longed to escape, but at what sort of cost? She was always dragged back into it by the drug group and at the end they was bitterly attacking her for “shopping” one of their members which is the unforgivable crime in drug circles.
Abusing drugs does, as always, never lead to anything good and it can’t make any situation better than what it already is, only worse. Unfortunately it is true also today that many people, both adolescents and adults, become drug addicts. That is why I believe that this book is highly relevant in our days as well. I believe that the book is fabricated to a certain extent, but most of the story is true. The message between the lines is obviously to scare people away from using drugs. Perhaps if the government took an active role in informing parents of adolescents about how they should talk to their children about drugs, many cases like this can be avoided. This was a problem for Alice’s parents. They didn’t know exactly how to help Alice with her problems and they didn’t, as most parents, suspect that their child would do these things.
On a scale from 1-6 I give this book 4. Fabricated or not, it has a very important message to bring and does so in a convincing way by letting everyone see how difficult it can be to get out of drug abuse and how it turned Alice’s life into a living hell.