''Go Ask Alice'' is a novel by youth counsellor Beatrice Sparks, first published in 1971. It is the story of a troubled young woman who seeks solace in drugs and the counterculture. She comes to grief as a result. It is famous for its DrugsAreBad message, being banned for references to sex, rape and drugs, and almost certainly being a fake. Rather than being a RealLife diary of a young drug addict, it is the work of Beatrice Sparks, [[BasedOnAGreatBigLie who attempted to pass it off as true for a number of years]]. It is classic SchoolStudyMedia.

The novel is a dark ComingOfAgeStory. The work takes the form of a "diary", the keeper of which is [[NoNameGiven not named]]. Usually she is called Alice, from the title, but her name is actually Carla, and Alice is an addict who she briefly meets on the street. Carla is a sensitive fifteen-year-old girl, alienated from her conservative parents and initially without friends. When she does start making friends and discovers the TheSixties counterculture, she also encounters drugs. Her first experience is benign: she is unwittingly given LSD at her friend Jill's birthday party and has a pleasant trip.

Carla loses her virginity while on LSD. She feels guilty about this and her drug use. She and her female friend Chris take to dealing drugs for their respective boyfriends. Upon discovering said boyfriends having sex with each other, they leave for UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco, leaving their families as well.

In San Francisco, they move into a small apartment and get jobs. Their vow to stay clean does not last--in fact, they use harder drugs. While on heroin at a party, both girls are raped. They return home for Christmas, again vow to stay off drugs, again relapse, and this time are busted and Carla gets probation. Carla runs away again and spends the next few weeks in a drug-induced haze skirting along the West Coast. In her sober moments, she is horrified at what she's become and again returns home, determined to stay off drugs for real this time. However, she's now harassed by her former stoner friends who accuse her of being a "fink" and frame her for drug possession. After inadvertently ingesting acid (planted by her former friends) and suffering a nearly-fatal bad trip, Carla is sent to an asylum, where she sorta bonds with a younger and even more broken girl named Babbie.

The novel at first seems to end on a high, so to speak, with Carla reunited with her family, off drugs, with a boyfriend named Joel and showing greater maturity. [[spoiler:An epilogue slams that with a DownerEnding.]]

The portrayal of Sixties hippie culture is limited. Tellingly, political protest and music are scarcely mentioned. It works best as a critique of the hedonistic excesses of the movement. As a "warning work," it has similarities to ''Literature/RequiemForADream''. It has a similar theme of disenchanted youth going off the rails as is found in ''Literature/TheCatcherInTheRye''.

Adapted into a 1973 MadeForTVMovie starring Creator/WilliamShatner and Andy Griffith, among others.

!!!If you are looking for the trope that used to have this name, please see AliceAllusion.


!!''Go Ask Alice'' provides examples of these tropes:
* AliceAllusion: In relay: the book is named from "White Rabbit", a song by the contemporary psychedelic band Music/JeffersonAirplane who in turn saw drug imagery in ''Literature/AliceInWonderland''. Carla in the novel also wonders if Creator/LewisCarroll was on drugs when he wrote it. The 1973 TV movie, unsurprisingly, uses a cover of the song as its opening and closing theme.
* AmbiguouslyBi:
** Carla mentions feeling attraction to girls at several points and even wonders if her RomanticTwoGirlFriendship is just a phase or something more.
** Carla catches [[spoiler:her boyfriend Richie]] having sex with [[spoiler:Ted]]. It's never clarified what Richie's sexuality was, but Carla seems to think he was gay.
* ArtisticLicenseGeography: The narrator speaks glowingly of her experiences in Coos Bay, Oregon, and in the same breath describes how she visited the Psychedelic Shop and the Digger Free Store. Both these establishments were in San Francisco, neither was a franchise, and both had closed down by the time the narrator got there.
* AscendedExtra: Carla's er, "Alice"'s friend Beth is one in the movie version. In the novel, Beth is never mentioned again after Carla notes that Beth found a boyfriend at "Jewish summer camp" and never has time for her anymore. In the movie, "Alice" tries to resume her friendship with Beth after getting clean, but Beth rejects her due to "Alice"'s bad reputation; however, by the end of the film, the two girls are friends again.
* BasedOnAGreatBigLie: Ostensibly the real diary of a teenage girl, it was in fact entirely fabricated by Sparks. She has also released a series of other "true diaries" in the same vein, but dealing with different subjects, such as AIDS (''It Happened to Nancy''), teen pregnancy (''Annie's Baby''), and depression-linked Satanism, we kid you not (''Jay's Journal'').
++Ironically, the success of ''Go Ask Alice'' convinced the family of "Jay" to give their son's journal to Sparks for editing, assuming she would turn the journal into a cautionary tale for other parents of at-risk children. In reality, "Jay" was a mere depressed, troubled teen who committed suicide. Sparks expanded a single mention of Satanism into a major theme of the book and invented journal entries to support the Satanism theme. Jay's parents later claimed that Sparks had ruined their lives and tarnished their son's memory.
* BlackSheep: Even before her drug experimentation begins, Carla considers herself as such due to her social awkwardness and insecurity and is constantly comparing herself to her seemingly more well-adjusted younger siblings. In her sober moments, she realizes that she's become the Black Sheep for real, as she regrets the pain and shame she's brought her family.
* BreakTheCutie: Carla starts out a peppy, if awkward and insecure, fifteen-year-old before getting mixed with drugs.
* BrokenBird: Carla and also her friend Babbie, whom she meets while in the asylum.
* ComingOfAgeStory: Ticks the boxes.
* ContemplatingYourHands: This stoner cliché makes an appearance: in one scene, hands become fascinating under the influence.
* CruelTwistEnding: Carla's got her life back together, is making new friends, and has a boyfriend... [[spoiler:Then the epilogue notes that she died of a drug overdose two weeks later.]]
* DanBrowned: The book is not the result of researching a real account. It is fiction.
* DeathByDespair: After [[spoiler:Carla's grandfather]] dies, his wife stops eating and dies a few weeks later as well.
* DepravedBisexual: [[spoiler:Sheila the fashion designer. She and her boyfriend Rod are the ones who rape both Carla and Chris in San Francisco.]]
* DepravedHomosexual: [[spoiler:The drug dealers Richie and Ted.]]
* DownerEnding: At first you think it's going to have a happy ending with the main character changing her life for the better. But then in the epilogue, you find out that [[spoiler:she died three weeks later of an overdose. It's not clear if it was an accidental one or if it was a suicide by premeditated overdose.]]
* DramaticIrony: Carla often mentions her feelings on death and dying. [[spoiler:Guess what happens to her?]] The same applies to her elation post-recovery.
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: [[spoiler:Carla suddenly dies on the final page.]]
* DrugsAreBad: Basically ''Drugs Are Bad: The Book'' the same way ''Film/RequiemForADream'' is ''Drugs Are Bad: The Movie''.
* EmoTeen: Carla, Babbie, Chris.
* FantasyForbiddingParent: Minor character Mike's parents think only "weaklings and bums" are artists. This caused him to run away from home.
* FirstNameBasis: It's mentioned that the kids at [[spoiler:the youth center]] call everyone but the doctors by their given names.
* FlashbackNightmare: After getting clean and sober, Carla is hit with one out of the blue while doing her homework one evening.
* TheGenerationGap: As a theme. It helps divide Carla from her parents.
* GrowingUpSucks: Carla contemplates this idea several times.
* TheHeroDies: Carla dies [[spoiler:of an overdose two weeks after her final diary entry. It's unknown if it was accidental or [[DrivenToSuicide suicide]].]]
* HigherUnderstandingThroughDrugs: Many of Carla's drug experience have a distinctly religious feel.
* HopeSpot: [[spoiler:Just when you think Carla's on the right track to a bright, successful future, [[SuddenDownerEnding literally the last page]] tells you that she died of a drug overdose and her body was found by her parents after coming home from a night out.]]
* InformedJudaism: Carla's friend Beth is Jewish, and she learns a lot about the religion through her interactions with Beth.
* InsertSong: In the 1973 MadeForTVMovie adaptation, the song "Dear Mr. Fantasy" by Music/{{Traffic}} is used as background music for a drug party "Alice" (Carla) is attending, and shows up again during [[spoiler:the bad trip that sends her to the mental hospital]].
* TheLawOfConservationOfDetail: The fact that the book follows this [[http://www.snopes.com/language/literary/askalice.asp is cited by]] ''{{WebSite/Snopes}}'' as evidence that it is fake. After all, one would expect a real teenage girl's diary to ramble on about silly gossip rather than focusing so much on her plot-relevant drug addiction. When this first came out, many reviewers simply assumed it had been edited to take out all the chit-chat.
* MarijuanaIsLSD: Apparently, marijuana was ''much'' better in the '60s.
* MiseryLit: The book tried to pass itself off as this, but is now widely agreed to be a work of fiction.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: In her sober moments, Carla regrets the pain and shame her drug habit, and especially her running away from home, has brought her family.
* MyNameIsNotShazam: As noted above, Alice is not the protagonist's name. Officially she's "anonymous", though a quote from a drug dealer's child indicates her name is possibly Carla (which is used on this entry). There ''is'' a minor character named "Alice"; however, she isn't the protagonist. The MadeForTVMovie adaptation goes ahead and gives her name as Alice, presumably because ViewersAreMorons.
* NewTransferStudent: The book begins with Carla moving to a new town a few pages in. Her awkwardness at her new school leads to her falling in with the wrong crowd.
* NiceJewishBoy: Carla's friend Beth is a Nice Jewish Girl whose parents keep on trying to get her to date Nice Jewish Boys. She even considers setting up Carla with one of said Nice Jewish Boys, adding that he'll think he's getting one over on his parents by going out with someone who isn't Jewish.
* ParentalIncest: One character's step-father raped her.
* PoliticallyIncorrectHero: Probably due to ValuesDissonance or maybe even the drugs, but Carla has nasty opinions on LGBT people. She uses slurs often. This even applies to her own bicuriosity.
* RelationshipRevolvingDoor: For the first half of the novel Carla has an on-and-off relationship with a handsome boy named Roger, with whom she is virtually obsessed for a time. It apparently ends when Roger goes away to military school and the two lose touch due to Carla's drug use and attendant adventures. After getting clean, Carla meets a new boy named Joel, and we can assume Roger is completely in the wind at this point.
* RelationshipSalvagingDisaster: The parents of Carla's friend Chris, whose marriage had been on the rocks (apparently due to the father's extramarital affairs), apparently reconcile due to their concern about their daughter. Later on, it's mentioned that Chris and her parents moved away to a new city, sparing Chris the difficulties Carla experiences with her former "grass gang" friends.
* TheRunaway: At several points, Carla runs away from home and goes on the bus to another city. She also meets several teens who have also run away in the past.
* ScareEmStraight: The work's probable objective, as an anti-drug tract.
* ShootTheShaggyDog: Carla's struggles and growth are rendered sadly pointless by the epilogue.
* TheSixties: The setting, as filtered through an anti-drugs activist.
* SlippingAMickey: How the protagonist gets her first hit of LSD. It's a beautiful trip, and she immediately spirals headlong into full-blown drug experimentation and addiction. At one point she even considers doing this to her younger brother. Later in the book, it nearly costs Carla her life, as she eats some candy unaware that her former stoner friends have spiked it with acid; this time, it's a bad trip and nearly kills her.
* TeenPregnancy: Carla has several scares starting when she loses her virginity at fifteen. The first one escalates her drug dependency, as she's so worried about possibly being pregnant that she's unable to sleep and ends up stealing sleeping pills from her grandfather and later getting a prescription for tranquilizers (which, it's implied, she continues to abuse even after it turns out she's not pregnant).
* ThisIsAWorkOfFiction: Though it's marketed as the real-life diary of a teenage girl, the copyright page gives you the truth: "This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental."
* TitledAfterTheSong: Named for a line in Music/JeffersonAirplane's "White Rabbit".
* TroublingUnchildlikeBehavior: Epidemic, considering the book's theme. The protagonist is barely fifteen when she spirals into a life full of promiscuity, heavy drug use, sexual abuse, and pill pushing. She mentions selling drugs to children as young as ''eight''. Several of the minor characters also had difficult lives from young ages, such as how Babbie began using drugs at eleven and became a prostitute at twelve.
* WeightWoe: Prior to starting drugs, Carla is upset over her weight and starts starvation-dieting to lose weight (in fact, it's one of the catalysts for her friendship with Beth, who is also weight-conscious). Later she finds that drugs help curb her appetite.
* YoungerThanTheyLook: A girl who looks eighteen or nineteen is revealed to be only fourteen.