“Go Ask Alice” (1973) offers an anti-drug message with a side of rock ‘n’ roll
Now streaming on YouTube is a 1973 movie based on the once- alleged true story of a young drug addict named Alice. The movie is based on the book of the same name that was published in 1971. While the book’s origin was once steeped in controversy, it is mostly forgotten now.
“Go Ask Alice” the movie is significant to fans of rock music and history by the way it contextualizes rock music of the late 1960s and attempts to show the means by which even a girl from a good family can fall into the trap of drugs and their attendant misadventures.
“Go Ask Alice” 45 years later
Watching the film version of the book is as close to watching a time capsule as some people will get. There is a bit of editorializing as the opening credits appear and what sounds like a cover version of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” plays. Viewers are shown “examples” of kids of the time period. Kids with glasses, boys with long hair; moody-looking girls with very long hair; there were even two black students. The song “White Rabbit” contains the line from which the title “Go Ask Alice” derives. The fashions and the moods clue viewers in on what life was probably like 50 years ago. The movie is interesting on that basis alone.
“Go Ask Alice” and controversy
Years before James Frey and the “Million Little Pieces” scandal, there was “Go Ask Alice” and the theories about who wrote the book. The author is listed as “Anonymous.” The book was purported to be the real journal of a 15-year-old girl who was the Alice of the title.
Once thought to be nonfiction, “Go Ask Alice” is categorized as fiction now. The controversy about the book’s authorship has done nothing to negatively impact the book’s popularity. However, the American Library Association challenges the book’s suitability for young audiences because of its language and depictions of sex and drug use.