“Go Ask Alice” Book Review


Brooke Johnston-Quirarte

“Go Ask Alice” a banned novel written by a teenager girl in the 70’s, explores themes of addiction and other worldly struggles. Novels such as these should not be banned due to their educational opportunity to expose readers to the dangers of addiction.

When I was roaming the aisles of my local bookstore, I stumbled upon a small leather bound book nestled on the shelf. Intrigued by the unique cover, I decided to pick it up.

“Go Ask Alice,” is a whimsical, heartbreaking story written by a teenage girl in the 70’s. The novel is a dairy-style, making it significantly more personal and insightful. When I began reading, I was equally moved and unsettled by the descriptions of the main characters’ struggles. It wasn’t until after finishing the story did I learn that “Go Ask Alice,” is an adaptation of a real teenage girl’s diary, referred to as “Anonymous”.

The story takes place during the height of teenage addiction in history. Throughout the story, “Anonymous” shares her first-hand account experimenting with drugs. With each drug she takes, “Anonymous” begins to sink deeper and deeper into her addiction, until she reaches a life-altering moment where there is no point of return.

The horrifying experiences that “Anonymous” encounters during her addiction deters readers from drug use. From homelessness, bullying, and sexual assault, “Anonymous” delt with endless struggles throughout her addiction.

Upon reflection, it is critical that books like “Go Ask Alice” are read by the younger members of our society. It is the unsettling and eye opening literature, like the one “Anonymous” wrote, that inspires children to make educated decisions.

Even though “Go Ask Alice” is a highly educational book for children to read, it is difficult to complete. “Anonymous” story was nearly impossible for me to finish reading. However it is the difficult stories and conversations that ultimately spark that are essential for our society to continue to grow.

The heartbreaking truth is that “Go Ask Alice,” along with many other impactful novels, are banned in schools. How else are students intended to learn about the dangerous consequences of their actions? It is stories like this that educate students in the most influential ways.

Since “Go Ask Alice” is a banned novel, students must take it upon themselves to become educated on the harrowing truths of addiction. It’s a shame that adults in our society take the initiative to censor books they think children should be unable to read. This stems from a fear that children may read books like this and want to begin using drugs themselves.

However, “Go Ask Alice” sparks the opposite narrative. “Anonymous” unnerving story shows readers today the dangers of addiction. Arbitrary decisions to ban books strip students of their inherent right to learn. If these influential books continue to be banned, younger generations will become unprepared for the harsh realities of society if their childhood literature becomes censored. This is why I would highly recommend “Go Ask Alice” to anyone hoping to become more educated on faults in society.