Go Ask Alice Background

Go Ask Alice Background

Go Ask Alice is a popular young adult novel written by Beatrice Sparks (January 15, 1917- May 25, 2012), an American therapist and Mormon youth counselor. Sparks' modus operandi was writing "real diaries" from the accounts of "troubled teens." The concepts and themes she often incorporated into these diaries were reflections of parental fears and taboos pertinent to the "Hippie" Generation of the 60's and 70's, including; drug dependency, Satanism/occultism, premarital sex, teenage pregnancies, sexually-transmitted diseases, fatal overdoses and suicide. Although Sparks claimed to only be a "discoverer" of the eleven published entries, records at the U.S. Copyright Office reveal her to be the sole author and editor of all but two.

Go Ask Alice details the pivotal events enabling an adolescent diarist’s dark descent into drugs, debauchery and depravity. Her name is never revealed to the reader, however a drug addict named Alice makes a minor appearance. The title itself is taken from the 1967 Jefferson Airplane song entitled "White Rabbit." The song itself is a literary allusion to Lewis Carol's magnum opus, Alice in Wonderland. Both of these derivatives have often been interpreted as describing the physiological effects of drugs, particularly with that of hallucinogenic mushrooms.

The book created somewhat of a sensation upon its publication in 1971. It remains in print as of 2015, and has reportedly sold over five million copies. Its authenticity, however, has been widely disreputed and disproven. Although it still brandishes the "Anonymous" tagline, publishers have labeled it as "fiction" since the mid-1980s.

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