By CYRUS ENGELSMAN
“Based on a true story” is often used to describe events to add dramatic effect to a story or moral. However, the term itself is not always genuine, as the definition of the term can be very loose and leading.
The story of the book “Go Ask Alice ” uses this term for its advantages. The story entirely takes place through journal entries of an unnamed female character, and her descent into the world of drug use and abuse. The story has dark themes of drug use, sexual assault and death.
This story starts with an unnamed teenage woman who receives a diary as a gift, which she uses regularly to write about how she feels about herself and the world around her. One day, when she decides to go to a party the woman was invited to, the people of the party decide to give the young woman psychedelic drugs without her knowing. This was a major turning point for the woman, as she turned to a life of drugs and the effects they bring to a person’s life.
Beatrice Sparks published “Go Ask Alice” in 1971 and has since been frequently challenged as a banned book. (CYRUS ENGELSMAN/ Ethic News photo)
The remainder of this article will contain spoilers for the book.
The book itself has had a lot of controversy because of readers questioning the legitimacy of the story and how it is portrayed. In the middle of the book, the woman loses her diary, and gives journal entries with any paper material she could find, napkins, paper bags, and other items of that regard.
This itself has raised many questions, who recovered the notes? When did the notes take place? These questions have made readers question how real the book itself is.
Another reason readers question the legitimacy of the book is because the book’s genre is considered a Young Adult Fiction, despite the book claiming being “A Real Diary.”
Despite the rumors and theories of the legitimacy of the story, the moral and themes of substance abuse and sexual assault are still relevant to this day for many despite the book being over 50 years old.
At the end of the book, immediately after another journal entry, the reader is left to discover that the young woman has died, presumably, from a drug overdose. Though the cause of death is not explicitly said, this death is sudden and emotional.
After hearing the young women’s struggles with abuse, sexual assaut, and the life of an adolescent away from home, all stemming from an addiction to drugs, it sets a fear into the readers mind. A fear that is still real and many have to this day.
This book is a hard read from start to finish, but has an important message about drugs and their effect on someone’s life. The reason the book is hard to read is because it felt very real, like a real person one could know and understand. This book is recommended if the reader can handle uncomfortable topics. Despite the difficult topics and themes, the story has an important message on the world and the people on it.
As the main character of the story would say, “Why is life so difficult? Why can’t we be just ourselves and have everyone accept us the way we are?”