go ask alice

 

Last night, my friends and I were “playing DJ.” This is just what we call taking turns each playing a different song when we’re all sitting together in the lounge working on papers and whatnot. It passes the time, swaps good music, and enhances conversation. On one of my friend Susie’s turns, she played Jefferson Airplane’s, “White Rabbit.” Hearing Grace Slick’s hauntingly unique voice, I remembered that time in 8th grade where everyone was reading “Go Ask Alice.” For those of you who don’t know of the book, it’s allegedly the real journal** of a girl in the late 60s who spirals into deep drug use, falls away from her family, runs away and eventually dies of a drug overdose.

At this time in high school, all my friends were experimenting with pot and alcohol, and I was the only one who wasn’t. Curious about it, I read this book practically in one sitting, lost in the mystery and allure of a girl too high to write some of the dates of her entries, too dirty to get a job, and too far gone to go home. Cheesy as its “Anonymous” authorship was, it was a total coming of age book for me and my friends. Between me and my circle, we kept the book out of the library for months, talking at lunch to each other about how true we believed it was, how scary it must’ve been for her, or how good drugs felt. As stupid as it sounds, some major bondage occurred over that book.

Hearing the Jefferson Airplane song – that, of course, also became a major hit in our group, mostly because of its title connection, drug reference, and late 60s/early 70s hippie dippy psychedelic feel that all of us were decades past being able to experience – brought me right back to 8th grade and the prison of myself that I lived in. Reading the book today would probably accrue a whole new slab of meaning and revelations, but at the same time, it would allow me to revisit the ghost of 8th grade AYL past.

Don’t you wish you could go visit the middle school version of yourself – yourself at a time when status, grades, and self-discovery all weighed so heavily on you that you felt like you might explode?

**The actual authorship of this book has been greatly debated over the years. Beatrice Sparks, a psychologist, eventually came out and claimed that she had published the book, basing it on the journals of one of her deceased patients back in the day. But, still, a lot of controversy exists regarding the truth in her statements. If interested, read more here

Travel with me:

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~ by angiesyounglover on March 31, 2009.

8 Responses to “go ask alice”

  1. It’s funny you should post about this because I was having a major middle school flashback yesterday. For some reason, every time I turned on the radio in my car, a song from the early ’90s was playing. I heard some Boyz II Men, TLC and STP, all in one afternoon. All I could think about was how innocent I was then, but also how I’d never want to be that age again because I was SOOO insecure. If I could go back and visit middle school me, I’d tell her to relax and enjoy being young instead of worrying so much about being pretty and popular and fitting in.

  2. Also, yay, I’m so excited I discovered your blog!

    • so true, all about being pretty and making the cliques. i was “lucky” enough to be in a popular one, but it was hell within. superficial fluff that felt life or death. i guess you need it, though, to have to look back on. hindsight. and i love me some STP :)

      i’m glad you discovered it, too!!

  3. I was haunted by the movie Go Ask Alice after we were required to see it in school as part of “drug education.” In high school I was way into the hippie/60s thing too. Check out my post on Janis Joplin the next time you visit SF Unbound. When you do, you’ll see that I’ve added you to my blogroll.
    http://sublimefemme.wordpress.com/2009/01/07/janis-undoing-femme/

    xo
    SF

  4. This sounds like exactly the kind of book I would have read back in school, but I somehow missed it.

    Does everyone discover Jefferson Airplane in 8th grade? I sure did.

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