Best of: books for ages 18+ #4: ‘Go Ask Alice’ – Anonymous
Published in 1971 and set between 1968 and 1970, this book caused a lot of controversy at the time of its publication simply because it was presented as a diary, and not as fiction.
The diarist, whose name we never learn, is a fifteen-year-old girl, who reveals to us her concerns about various aspects of her life, including her drug use, which starts out after she unwittingly ingests LCD in a drink spiked with it at a party. Her drug use becomes more and more intense throughout the book, and we watch as she descends into addiction.
Utterly controversial in the 1970s, it has been described by some as pure anti-drugs propaganda and sometimes dismissed as being unbelievable. It is clear, however, that whatever you feel about the style, it is a powerful story about some of the issues that touch teenage life most deeply.
By the same author: It was discovered that the diary, published anonymously, was written by a teen therapist called Beatrice Sparks. She has written a number of other ‘anonymous’ diaries, which all serve as cautionary tales for teenagers dealing with the same issues.