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Celia Cyanide
12-29-2006, 09:18 PM
Now that we know that Beatrice Sparks and all the books she "edited" are all fakes, what do you think about the one that started it all?

I have read only Go Ask Alice, and my biggest problem with it is that it isn't well written or well researched. I can live with the fact that it's not actually the diary of a dead teenager. But not only is it fake, it's silly.

The book made no mention of any drugs other than marijuana and LSD, neither of which is addictive, and neither of which can cause a person to OD. And yet Alice became so addicted to them they she ran away from home to become a prostitute and ODed.

The book describes the drug use in great detail, and only casually mentions the things that teenagers care the most about. It doesn't read like a real diary.

Anyway, these are my thoughts. What do you think?

Shadow_Ferret
12-29-2006, 09:24 PM
We know... what?

Did I miss some news?

scarletpeaches
12-29-2006, 09:26 PM
I tried reading that book years ago, it was free with a magazine, and I couldn't even finish it.

There was a relationship with a boy as I recall, or she fancied someone who didn't like her back...the way she talked about it seemed unrealistic and I put it down to maybe American girls interacted with boys in a different way to Scottish girls.

I just didn't like the book, although can't remember why as I haven't seen a copy for years.

alleycat
12-29-2006, 09:30 PM
We know... what?

Did I miss some news?
You must have.

Time to return to the thrilling days of the 60s.

I just happened to think (it's pretty unusual, I know); what if Oprah had been around when the book came out? I can just see her doing a "very special Oprah show" on the tragic death of the author.

Celia Cyanide
12-29-2006, 09:42 PM
We know... what?

Did I miss some news?

http://www.snopes.com/language/literary/askalice.asp

Unique
12-29-2006, 09:43 PM
I read it so long ago I can't remember much but the title.
Other titles I remember from the same time are:

Lisa Bright and Dark
Maybe I'll Be Home in the Spring
Blowfish Live in the Sea
Reds

Are they fake, too?

Shadow_Ferret
12-29-2006, 09:49 PM
Wow! It's a 1973 movie starring The Shat! I must netflix that.

WildScribe
12-29-2006, 09:49 PM
Sad and silly, both.

alleycat
12-29-2006, 09:54 PM
Wow! It's a 1973 movie starring The Shat! I must netflix that.
The Shat? What are you, a glutton for punishment?

I remember the movie vaguely. I think it was a made-for-tv movie and wasn't too bad for that type of thing.

MidnightMuse
12-29-2006, 10:02 PM
Wow - I, too, vaguely remember that movie (or at least that title) so I popped over to IMDB, and I really don't remember any of those actors in what I thought I was remembering as that movie.

I must have been too young then, and too old now!

janetbellinger
12-29-2006, 10:18 PM
Well, I give it some leeway because it was written a at least a few decades ago and was one of the first novels to deal with real teenage problems. Like teenage pregnancy was not discussed then. Are we discussing the same book? The one I am referring to is about a pregnant teenager and was written in the 70s or something.

Tiger
12-29-2006, 10:24 PM
My English class was fed this book in ninth or tenth grade... Come to think of it, so was "The Amityville Horror." The second title had more of an effect.

Later, a story called, "Diary of a Drug Addict" came out in our student magazine--which was a short story, obviously inspired by "Alice." It was written by a chess club-type who didn't know much about drugs beyond the names of some and that they were bad for you.

In retrospect, the two works were not all that different.

At least nobody showed us "Reefer Madness."

PattiTheWicked
12-29-2006, 10:37 PM
I remember reading Go Ask Alice when I was about ten, whic would be around 1978. Even at that point, I remember thinking, "This is lame. There's no way this is a real diary". I just kind of assumed it was a 1960's Don't Do Drugs story written by someone who had probably never been high.

KTC
12-29-2006, 10:47 PM
Wow! It's been around since the 60s! I have been living under a rock.

scarletpeaches
12-29-2006, 10:48 PM
A good point, KTC. I would say one could get addicted to the good feelings resulting from the drug, so you're emotionally dependent on it, though you don't physically need it to function.

Go Ask Alice was still crapulosity in book form, though. And where's your avatar?

Celia Cyanide
12-29-2006, 11:02 PM
Celia, in regards to your first post here? I'm thinking that things which are not addictive can become addictive in the hands of an addictive personality?

Yes, that's very true, KTC. They can, just as anything else. I've known several people like this. However, I don't really believe that addiction to pot can turn you into a homeless hooker. It isn't even expensive enough. And how can this be a cautionary tale when it only applies to a certain personality type?

Janet, I'm not sure what book you're talking about, but Go Ask Alice does not deal with pregnancy. Only drugs.

The most shameful of all her books is this:

http://www.slweekly.com/editorial/2004/feat_2004-06-03.cfm

RG570
12-29-2006, 11:26 PM
The book made no mention of any drugs other than marijuana and LSD, neither of which is addictive, and neither of which can cause a person to OD. And yet Alice became so addicted to them they she ran away from home to become a prostitute and ODed.



People become psychologically addicted to anything, even cough medicine. And LSD can do much damage. I don't know where this idea that it's harmless came from. It's pertty nasty.

Celia Cyanide
12-29-2006, 11:35 PM
I don't know where this idea that it's harmless came from.

I don't know where it come from either. No one here is saying it, at least.

greglondon
12-29-2006, 11:42 PM
Isn't this just a novelized version of the urban legends about kids who took off in their parents car to make out in the woods and one or both of them die doing it? i.e. parents see some mundane thing (car) and view it as dangerous (because their kid might have sex in it) so all sorts of urban legends and what not pop up around kids who take the parent's car, get frisky, and die.

The fact that this author wrote about someone getting addicted to a nonaddictive drug to the point qualifies as them viewing some mundane thing as dangerous, and then they create some urban legend around it about how some kid did this drug and got so addicted to it that she whored herself until she died.

Don't the slutty/mean girls usually die in horror movies, but the chaste/nice girl is usually the only one to survive?

ETA: and maybe her boyfriend. though he sometimes sacrifices himself to save her.

WriterInChains
12-29-2006, 11:42 PM
Regardless of the addictive nature of pot or LSD, Go Ask Alice was ridiculous. I read it in my early teens & I thought it was going to be gritty and sad but it turned out to be Reefer Madness in novel form. Worlds away from real life.

Thanks for the link, Celia, what a flashback! I remember those so-called "Health Classes" where we basically just memorized the names & effects of various illegal drugs, and were told never to use any of them by teachers who drank and smoked like there was no tomorrow. No wonder the classes worked so well. :D

scarletpeaches
12-29-2006, 11:43 PM
Drugs are bad, mmmmmkay?

Tiger
12-29-2006, 11:44 PM
Celia, in regards to your first post here? I'm thinking that things which are not addictive can become addictive in the hands of an addictive personality? Does that make sense? I don't even know what the books are about that you mention. I haven't heard of any of this stuff...since I have my head buried under rocks most of the time. I do know, though, that an addictive personality CAN make drugs like pot and LSD addictive. It's their personalities that cause the addiction. I remember the early eighties well. I lived for LSD. Not having it destroyed my day.

Eek, I can't imagine anyone addicted to acid (at least, not on this planet).

Celia Cyanide
12-29-2006, 11:51 PM
Isn't this just a novelized version of the urban legends about kids who took off in their parents car to make out in the woods and one or both of them die doing it?

(emphasis mine) Not novelized. Not when it's still labeled as non-fiction today. People were all upset about the JT Leroy books, and those were always labeled fiction.

Caren, I felt the same way. I went into it knowing it wasn't reall, but with all the hype surrounding it, I was at least expecting a good read! Not so.

Shadow_Ferret
12-30-2006, 12:23 AM
The book made no mention of any drugs other than marijuana and LSD, neither of which is addictive, and neither of which can cause a person to OD. And yet Alice became so addicted to them they she ran away from home to become a prostitute and ODed.



I completely missed this. You can't OD from LSD, acid? I think you can and I think people have. Not sure if you can physically OD like you can inadvertently from say heroin (Still it IS a drug), but you can MENTALLY OD. Many people in the 60s went insane. Syd Barrett comes to mind.

greglondon
12-30-2006, 12:40 AM
(emphasis mine) Not novelized. Not when it's still labeled as non-fiction today.

er, well, I was refering more to length rather than genre or fiction/nonfiction distinctions. The urban legends about kids taking cars to make out and getting killed are usually fairly short. Short enough to be passed around verbally. Those too are usually presented as nonfiction stories of kids gone wrong and coming to a bad end.

It's just that they're shorter than "Ask Alice".

Shadow_Ferret
12-30-2006, 12:44 AM
I'm not familiar with those urban legends. Do they involve a psychopathic killer with a hookhand?

scarletpeaches
12-30-2006, 12:47 AM
Get out of the thread; he's listening on the forum next door!

greglondon
12-30-2006, 12:58 AM
I'm not familiar with those urban legends. Do they involve a psychopathic killer with a hookhand?

Oh, I don't know. There's a bunch of them. One that demonstrates the meme nearly perfectly is in the form of a horror story.


Teenage boy and girl drive out into the woods to make out. They park and start getting hot and heavy. They hear a noise and girl is scared, so boy goes out to investigate. girl stays in car. She hears more noises, and then she hears something scratching on the roof of the car. tension builds and police arrive. They lead her away from car consoling her which she doesn't understand. Then she turns around and sees boyfriend dead, hanging upside down, his fingers scratching the roof of the car. End with a scream.

There's a whole bunch of these stories. And they all end with the kids getting killed for trying to have sex in a car. It's an "abstinence only" propaganda story, trying to scare kids into not having sex. i.e.

have sex => you die.

"Ask Alice" is basically saying
do drugs => you die

badducky
12-30-2006, 01:01 AM
Everyone I knew who read Go Ask Alice where doing so specifically because they were stoners and thought the book was hilarious. No one else could stand it.

PeeDee
12-30-2006, 01:02 AM
There's a whole bunch of these stories. And they all end with the kids getting killed for trying to have sex in a car. It's an "abstinence only" propaganda story, trying to scare kids into not having sex. i.e.

have sex => you die.

What?? Good grief! What about the babysitter story where the killer dude was upstairs with the kids and now he's coming down the stairs for her? How is that a metaphor for sex...?

I thought they were just metaphors for why you shouldn't get near lunatic serial killers. Have sex at homes when insane killers are on the loose, kids!

Celia Cyanide
12-30-2006, 01:02 AM
I completely missed this. You can't OD from LSD, acid? I think you can and I think people have. Not sure if you can physically OD like you can inadvertently from say heroin (Still it IS a drug), but you can MENTALLY OD. Many people in the 60s went insane. Syd Barrett comes to mind.

That isn't really the same thing. When I had an overdose in college it referred to the ammount I ingested, which was toxic. And again, we're talking about the book. A "mental" overdose is not what happened to Alice. She died.

scarletpeaches
12-30-2006, 01:02 AM
Well, she would have died, if she'd ever lived in the first place.

Celia Cyanide
12-30-2006, 01:07 AM
er, well, I was refering more to length rather than genre or fiction/nonfiction distinctions.

Ok, thanks. I wasn't really sure what you meant. And honestly, I don't really care that it was really a novel. I think a fictional diary of a teenaged drug addict could be a very interesting story, if it were done right. In my opinion, its biggest sin is being a bad book.

It did become an urban myth, because long before I read it, my teachers told me the horror stories. They told me they were true! I don't know if they believed it or not. But after reading it, I didn't see how adults could.

In the case of Jay's Journal, the biggest sin was the way she deceived the boy's family. If it had been completely fake, like Alice, it wouldn't have been so awful.

badducky
12-30-2006, 01:21 AM
when i was reading this thread, it immediately made me want to go find the various websites that show the covers to pulp fiction books.

pulp of which, go ask alice is certainly one.

http://www.mcginnispaintings.com/Categories/HTMLfiles/detc01.html

That's a better cover for the book in question, methinks. Okay, so she's a little on the old side, but it has all the elements, doesn't it? Sex, Nubile youths, a typewriter, and the influence of sixties psychodelia!

Heck, turn the pen into a pipe, an you've got it all.

Little Red Barn
12-30-2006, 01:30 AM
Celia, I give. I keep stumbling over this thread. I didn't read Go Ask Alice...but now Grace Slick's song Go Ask Alice is stuck in my head...I wonder... ;)

Ok I checked, Grace Slick always said that White Rabbit was intended as a slap towards parents who read their children stories such as Alice in Wonderland (where Alice uses several drug like substances to change herself) and then wondered why their children grew up to do drugs...mmm

greglondon
12-30-2006, 02:18 AM
What?? Good grief! What about the babysitter story where the killer dude was upstairs with the kids and now he's coming down the stairs for her? How is that a metaphor for sex...?

Uhm, no. Not all horror stories are metaphors for "have sex=>you die".

I was just saying that the "Ask Alice" story of "do drugs=>you die" was basically yet another version of various stories meant to scare kids into doing what their parents want them to do, and the example I provided was various "have sex=>you die" stories.

Your "babysitter" story isn't a metaphor for sex. However, if the babysitter is a 16 year old girl, and her girlfriend comes over to visit before the killer arrives, and the girlfriend is "loose" compared to the babysitter, I'd wager money every time that the "loose" girl dies first, and the "chaste" babysitter likely lives.

If you've got secondary characters who are basically on the good guys side, but you need to kill them, one way to ease the blow to readers is to make those characters less sympathetic. Jerk Jocks don't last long in horror movies. Nor do their slutty, catty girlfriend who is head cheerleader because she's so vain. Also, whiners always die.

Celia Cyanide
12-30-2006, 02:33 AM
Ok I checked, Grace Slick always said that White Rabbit was intended as a slap towards parents who read their children stories such as Alice in Wonderland (where Alice uses several drug like substances to change herself) and then wondered why their children grew up to do drugs...mmm

Yeah, it's pretty ironic. :)

LeslieB
12-30-2006, 03:35 AM
Let me throw out an interesting trivia point. During the Charles Manson family trials, some of his supporters tried to kill a witness by spiking her hamburger with roughly ten times the (what was then) normal amount. The prosecutor could not try them for attempted murder because there were no known cases of LSD poisoning, so there was no legal foundation to prove that they were using a substance they knew would kill her.

Another trivia point. Our crime lab almost never got LSD, peyote or mushrooms in, except when the Grateful Dead were in town. I don't think we've gotten a mushroom case since Jerry Garcia died.

Tiger
12-30-2006, 03:50 AM
I don't think we've gotten a mushroom case since Jerry Garcia died.

Well, there was this kid I went to school with, who got ripped on LSD. He decided he wanted some mushrooms too, so he ate a toadstool.

That's gotta be a hard one to classify.

LeslieB
12-30-2006, 09:34 AM
Well, there was this kid I went to school with, who got ripped on LSD. He decided he wanted some mushrooms too, so he ate a toadstool.

That's gotta be a hard one to classify.

We wouldn't have gotten that one in any case, at least not in the chemistry section where I worked. If he died, the medical examiner's office would have gotten it. If he survived and, er, samples from his body were available, the toxicology section would have handled it.

But all jokes aside, almost every time we got a mushroom case in, you could tell that they came from the grocery. Portobellos seemed to be particularly popular for fake shrooms.

Celia Cyanide
12-30-2006, 10:07 AM
Let me throw out an interesting trivia point. During the Charles Manson family trials, some of his supporters tried to kill a witness by spiking her hamburger with roughly ten times the (what was then) normal amount.

Wow. What a weird way to try and kill someone.

Mags
12-31-2006, 01:12 PM
I read Go Ask Alice at an impressionable age and it scared the hell out of me; in other words, it did what it was supposed to do. I don't think I was really surprised to find out as an adult that it was faked.

ChaosTitan
12-31-2006, 08:53 PM
I must be under the same rock as Shadow Ferret, I totally missed this news. I vaguely remember reading Alice, but it never really stuck with me. If you want an affecting book about teen addictions (anorexia nervosa, in this case) try "The Best Little Girl in the World," by Stephen Levenkron. Just...wow.

scarletpeaches
12-31-2006, 08:56 PM
Wow. What a weird way to try and kill someone.

My cooking would do that on its own.