Just Say No: The Novel by Nancy Reagan
Or at least that's what it feels like.
Spoilers will follow, but it doesn't really matter. I'll tell you right now that you'd be better off in life if you just avoid this book completely.
If I've ever done anything that's worth winning a medal for, it's for finishing this book. If you're the type of person who dislikes The Catcher in the Rye because you find Holden Caulfield annoying, well multiply that by about 1,000 and you'll have this book. It's ridden with stupid teenager bullshit.
So you have this girl, whose name I assume is Alice, though the book never tells us her actual name. She's your typical 15-year old and she decides she should keep a diary, likely so one day suckers like myself will get to read it. She moves to a new town and allow me to list the sequence of events that take place over the course of a dozen or so pages.
1. She does LSD.
2. Does Torpedos (whatever that is)
3. Does Speed.
4. Loses her virginity.
5. Becomes addicted to sleeping pills.
6. Becomes addicted to tranquilizers.
7. Smokes pot
8. Becomes a drug dealer.
9. Sells LSD to 8-year olds.
10. Gets a drug-dealer arrested because he's gay.
11. Runs away from home.
12. Does heroin.
Then, if you bother to keep on reading, you'll find that she ends up becoming a homeless prostitute and ends up dying from drugs. She also falls in love with about fifty different guys and is somehow disappointed every single time when she finds out that it wasn't actual love. Whore.
I pretty much zoned out in the second half of the book. I'm fairly sure she begged her parents to take her back or something or something or something. It doesn't matter. Oh, and she was in an insane asylum for a time...because, you know, drugs make you insane!
The novel also seems to suggest that the only reason people are homosexual is because all homosexuals are high on drugs. Yep. Are you convinced that Nancy Reagan wrote this book yet?
The main character, Alice or whatever, is annoying as shit. I kid you not when I say that she has about three mood swings ON A SINGLE PAGE. Then there's the typical "Parents just don't understand" and "OMG! I'm so fat I need to stop eating for a day or two" and so on and so forth. She also uses tons of exclamation points. I wouldn't be surprised one bit if I found out that this novel holds the record for most frequent use of exclamation marks.
The portrayal of drugs and their effects are fairly inaccurate. If you want to make an anti-drug novel, so be it, but at least be truthful. It's the typical drug propaganda you're already probably familiar with; "It only takes one puff to get addicted" or "Five minutes after doing drugs your life will be ruined."
It's pretty funny reading the descriptions of her tripping in here. I wish it was more frequent though. Also featured in here is the typical "I stared at my hand for three hours" bit. And for some reason pot seemed to have the most intense descriptions out of all the other drugs, despite the fact that it's the tamest.
The book's pacing is terrible, as you may have guessed from the rapid sequence of events listed above. I guess I should be thankful that the pacing is so quick, but still, bad pacing is bad pacing.
I would grant the novel some merit if it succeeded in capturing the feel of the '70s (whether intentional or not) but it even does a shitty job at that. Besides a few slang words and the whole hippy stuff, it'd be hard to even tell when this book took place.
I love how the author had the audacity to publish this anonymously and bill it as a non-fiction book. Well, it's generally known that the actual author is not a 15 year old girl, but Beatrice Sparks, a therapist and a Mormon. She wrote numerous books like this (and probably made numerous thousands of dollars from them) each one enlightening us on the dangers of drugs or Satanism.
It shows in the writing that this wasn't written by a 15 year old. The writing sounds like a 50-something year old doing her best to sound like a 15 year old. Which is, to say the least, completely inaccurate of how teenagers actually act.
Dear reader, I ask you, what is worse: a drug addicted Satanist or a 54 year old Mormon who pretends to be a teenage girl?
Look at it this way: if you want to pay money for a drug PSA, then buy this book. From the beginning of the book from the closing line in the epilogue this book just reeks of propaganda. Also I can't decide whether the ending is trying to be optimistic or pessimistic...I think it's somehow trying to be both.
Moral of the story: 'Drugs' and 'Death' are synonymous words.
There was also a film version of this in 1973 that aired on ABC Movie of the Week. It's just as awful and dumb, but it's actually enjoyable. William Shatner plays the dad and they somehow managed to license Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" for the film's theme (of which the novel gets its title from). It's a wonderfully cheesy '70s film, and I must say I enjoyed it more than the book.
I'd burn Go Ask Alice but I think it'd be a waste of fire...actually I illegally downloaded it off the internet and I'd rather not burn my computer.
My message to kids: why take drugs when you can stick your penis in a jar of bleach? Let's see Beatrice Sparks write a novel about that. I want to see America's youth do wild shit so people like Beatrice Sparks can cash-in and write propaganda novels about it; at least they'd be interesting. Who wouldn't want to read a book about the dangers of sticking your penis in a jar of bleach or joining a cult which worships Bob Saget or how about every kid in America cuts off their hands in an act of protest against picking things up? Make it fun.
Sniff glue and play the choking game!