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But it is unfair to maintain that something is a “true story” when in fact it’s manufactured hooey.
There are enough real teens who lead short, tragic lives that we don’t need to invent any more.
Beatrice Sparks is presented as its editor rather than its author, and one tantalizing mention in a 1998 New York Times book review indicates the book might have been the work of several people: Linda Glovach, since exposed as one of the “preparers” — let’s call them forgers — of Go Ask Alice, has just written Beauty Queen, about a girl who flees her alcoholic mother, becomes a stripper and dies of heroin addiction.
Our best guess is that a number of folks work at churning out these cautionary tales, which are then presented to an overly accepting public as real diaries of anonymous teens.
Paternalistic concern about the burgeoning drug culture led to the youth of that day being heavily indoctrinated with anti-drug propaganda at almost every turn — particularly in school, where they were subjected to health classes which were little more than “don’t get high” lectures.Remember, a diary is not meant for the eyes of anyone other than the diarist, so the writing style used tends to be far more casual than that employed in pieces intended to be read by others. The “unsuspecting first time” is a standard plot device used by writers looking to keep their main characters sympathetic.This gal’s long slide into a pine box begins not with an actual intent to do drugs to see what all the shouting is about, but with an act of bad companions who introduce her to the world of drugs without her permission.They called the police and the hospital but there was nothing anyone could do. What must be of concern is that she died, and that she was only one of thousands of drug deaths that year. Or was the unnamed deceased teen who supposedly kept a diary detailing the drug-strewn path she followed to her own destruction merely a figment of a moralizing writer’s imagination?
Go Ask Alice was the product of Beatrice Sparks, an author who has come out with a number of “teens who saw their lives ruined by their bad choices” offerings, each one presented as a true story, often in the form of a diary of an anonymous teen: The precise authorship of Go Ask Alice is still a bit of a mystery.
We noted one further theme that jumped off the pages of Go Ask Alice: with the exception of the diarist, every teen in the book who was heavily involved with drugs and whose home situation was described came from a broken home.