Saturday, October 30, 2010

Go Ask Alice

Go Ask Alice is a book about the life of a young girl in the 70s who becomes addicted to drugs. The book is written in a diary-style, but the name of the diarist is never mentioned. The whole story is a work of fiction. The diarist is quite shy, often lonely and has difficulty to make friends. One day, she is invited to a party, where she is served a drink laced with LSD. Her nightmare begins there, as her life spins out of control.

The book was published in 1971 under the byline “Anonymous”, but it is a universally acknowledged fact that Beatrice Sparks (the editor) wrote the entire diary. She wrote this with the aim of preventing young people from taking drugs. The title Go Ask Alice refers to the song White Rabbit, written by the band Jefferson Airplane, whose lead singer, Grace Slick, was known to be a drug user. The lyrics of this song are all about drug-taking and are based on the character Alice in Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

I recently bought the book Go Ask Alice in its English version. I had already read L’Herbe Bleue (the French version) when I was twelve. I must admit this book fascinated me and I liked it very much for different reasons. First of all, stories where drugs are involved have always attracted me because this is something that a lot of people will be concerned with at least once in their life. Secondly, the accuracy with which the hell this teenager goes through is described, touched me. But the main aim of this book seems to me to prevent young people from taking drugs. On the cover page you can read “More than five million copies sold”. If only one person has been discouraged to try drugs after having read this book, I think the author will have achieved something great. In my opinion, drugs are a scourge of society. Interestingly, the book was removed from school libraries because of explicit references to runaways, drugs and sex, which were taboo in the 70s. I believe this reflects the mentality of the people at that time: they chose to ignore the problem of drugs rather than finding a solution to this problem.

Xavier Henrotte.

No comments: