This book was originally promoted as nonfiction and was published under the byline "Anonymous." However, not long after its publication, Beatrice Sparks, began making media appearances presenting herself as the book's editor.
Beatrice Sparks (born January 15, 1918 in Goldburg, Idaho) is an American therapist and Mormon youth counselor who is known for producing books claiming to be the 'real diaries' of troubled teenagers. Sparks began working with teenagers in 1955, after attending the University of California at Los Angles and Brigham Young University. She has worked as a music therapist at Utah State Mental Hospital and taught continuing education courses at BYU.
Dr. Sparks said that her experience working with troubled adolescents made her want to produce cautionary books that would keep other teens from falling into the same traps of drug abuse, Satanism, teenage pregnancy and AIDS. Her first book was Go Ask Alice , was published under the byline 'Anonymous' in 1971.
Go Ask Alice is written as a journal/diary of a teenage girl. She has a normal life, with a mom, a dad, and a younger brother and sister. She doesn't really feel she fits in at school. Then, her parents buy a new house and she gets to move to a new school. Since they moved over the summer, she got to go back and visit her grandparents. There she bumps into a girl she used to know who went to her school, and gets invited to a party. During the party, she ends up taking LSD. She didn't know it, but the drugs were in the sodas. While still staying with grandparents, she tries more and more new drugs. When she finally goes back home she swears to herself that she wouldn't do drugs any more. Meanwhile she starts dating a drug dealer and after she realizes he is using her, she turns him into the police. She runs away from home with her friend Chris, who is a year older then her. They continue to use drugs, but quit because they don’t have enough money to support their habit. They both find a good job, but quit after Alice gets raped by Chris’s boss. Alice and Chris get tired of living on their own and decide to go home. Everything is going well until one day Alice gets high and leaves without Chris to a little town on her own and gets very involved with drugs again. A local church helps her contact her parents after about 3 months, and again she goes home. She eventually goes insane and ends up in a mental hospital. And life turns to the worst………..
Who challenged the book
Because Go Ask Alice includes profanity as well as references about runaways, drugs, sex, and rape. Conservative parents and activists have sought to remove it from school libraries. Bans started in the 1970s: Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1974, Saginaw, Michigan in 1975, and Eagle Pass, Texas as well as other states.
The schools and libraries that hadn’t banned this book required parental permission for a student to check out the book. Additional bans occurred throughout the years. Still this book is being ban in schools like in Feb 2007 Berkley County School District in South Carolina put this book on the ban list.
Go Ask Alice was number 23 on its list of the 100 most frequently challenged books of the 1990s. Then this book was number 8 on the most challenged list in 2001 and up to number 6 in 2003.
I think it is stupid that Go Ask Alice has been put on the ban list. I understand not making it available for certain age groups. This book talks about the dangers teenagers face today with drug abuse and the aftermath of running away from home. Go Ask Alice is base on a true story of a teenager’s diary and not some made up character. Kids today need to know that making the wrong decisions will affect you now and in the future.
Because some teenagers don’t feel comfortable talking to their parents about drugs this book will let you know what happens to your life. There are parents out there that don’t know how to communicate to their children about drugs because they might not have experienced it.
Reading books like these help us because it doesn’t sugar coat the realities of drug use or life’s pressure.
Other books challenged
Title: Jay's Journal Author: Anonymous edited by Dr. Beatrice Sparks