Go Ask Alice by Anonymous (Banned Book… BUT Was It Real?)


Being a teenager is not easy now… and it wasn’t then.

Told in the first person perspective of an unnamed teenage girl, who is just trying to fit in.  When she is invited to a popular girls party she can not believe her luck!  They play a game called “Who’s Got The Button”, which our narrator later learns that several of the cokes they are served at the party are laced with LSD… the question is who will get them?  Our narrator of course is one that does, and she experiences her first high.

As time goes on, she becomes more willing to try other drugs to find out what they will feel like.  She becomes not only popular in her school, but also a drug dealer to pay for her habits.

Written in diary form, Go Ask Alice walks you through the drug use and the terrible happenings associated with her highs such as sex, leaving home, in with the wrong so-called “friends” and then leads to her trying to come clean and be the girl she knows deep down inside she is.



WOW.  I picked up this book at our recent Friends Of The Library sale.  I am always on the look out for classics and banned books (often one and the same) when I seen a copy of this book. Go Ask Alice is small, 224 under size pages and written in diary format so is a quick read.  My plan was to read this for banned book week, and although I did not finish it during the week I meant to, I did finish it.

Go Ask Alice, written originally in 1971 is still relevant today.  I am not sure why it is called Go Ask Alice, there is a small encounter with a girl named Alice… but nothing worthy of naming the book after her (although I did momentarily wonder if the “Alice” she seen in the book, was indeed our narrator thinking of herself as another person…)

The book is sad.  You find our narrator trying to break free of the circle of drugs and those involved, but it is a struggle in many ways.  Even when she does get clean, she is pursued by the users as well as nightmares and well… read the book.  There is more to this story.

Go Ask Alice is said in the front of the book that is the actual diary of a teenage girl.  If you look on-line, you will find there is much discrepancy about this claim.  Snopes.com calls it out as fiction.  Merely a cautionary tale.  It also calls out that the book is not really anonymous, although this is pretty common knowledge now – the author is actually Beatrice Sparks who had written a number of teen books dealing with topics such as AIDS, teen pregnancy, cults, drugs, and eating disorders.

True story or not, it made for an interesting read and truly can put the fear of drugs and the dangers of hanging with the wrong people in you.

Recommended.  So you too can say you read it.


Go Ask Alice… WHY Was It Banned?

Since it’s publishing in 1971, Go Ask Alice has become one of the most challenged and banned books of all time. Due to its frequent and strong references to sex, heavy drug usage, and teen pregnancy, libraries and schools across the country have banned the novel as it sits at number 23 on the American Library Association (ALA) “100 Most Frequently Challenged Books” from 1990-2001.  In Charleston, South Carolina, Dr.Chester Floyd, Berkeley County school district’s superintendent, pulled the novel off the shelves of all public schools within the district.



  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse; Reprint edition (January 1, 2006)


Have you read this book?  What are your thoughts?



31 thoughts on “Go Ask Alice by Anonymous (Banned Book… BUT Was It Real?)

  1. I read this when I was 14 (so almost 40 years ago) and it didn’t matter if it was true. It is very relevant and written in a way so that you get how dire her life was. I still recommend it to teenagers (or these days preteens) as a cautionary tale.

  2. I knew the book was about drug use but wasn’t really sure how the story was told, etc. I didn’t know it was in diary format or that it could possibly contain facts. That makes it more alluring, doesn’t it? I saw a copy of this at a used book store recently. They had a display going for banned books but I just walked on by. Drug use is not a thing I am too interested in but now I am curious.

  3. I’ve not read it but sounds interesting and something I’d like to get a copy of. Always so amazed that books that can teach lessons and possibly help young people make better choices are banned.

  4. The book’s title, and even the inclusion of a character named Alice, very likely may have been named because of the Jefferson Airplane song “White Rabbit.” I’m feeling too sick to get into it or read this, but if you’re interested, there’s some info on wikipedia:

    http ://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/White_Rabbit_(song)

  5. I read it when I was a teenager….when it first came out. It is a classic. So glad my parents didn’t censor me. And yes, there was a ‘made for TV’ movie back in the 70’s. Back when Made for TV movies were popular.

  6. I read this a few years ago and was blown away. So emotionally powerful! I listened on audio and was crying and yelling at the car stereo! I don’t think it really matters much whether it is fiction or true because it is such a powerful story, told in such a powerful way. If it can make you feel like that, then in my eyes, it’s a good book, period.

    So glad you got to read it!


    Book By Book

  7. This book was loaned to me by my middle school teacher back in the late 70s. I don’t know why he loaned it to me. I was very shy and introverted. Unfortunately I only read the first few pages and lost interest. I’m not saying it’s a boring book, just not for everyone.

Hmmmm... what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s