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Go Ask Alice

Go Ask Alice Summary


Here you will find a Go Ask Alice summary (Anonymous's book).
We begin with a summary of the entire book, and then you can read each individual chapter's summary by visiting the links on the "Chapters" section.

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Last Updated: Monday 1 Jan, 2024

Go Ask Alice Summary Overview

A 15-year-old girl begins a diary, using it to pour out her deepest fears and concerns about adolescence, including her body image, awkwardness in school, confusions about her budding sexuality and strained relationship with her parents. Her father, who is a college professor, announces a job change that involves moving to a new town, a development that lifts her spirits. However, the move proves challenging for the unnamed diarist who struggles to fit in at her new school. She eventually befriends Beth, a Jewish neighbour. During Beth's absence for summer camp, the diarist spends time with her grandparents and reconnects with another old friend, Jill, who introduces her to drugs at a party, leading to her first LSD experience. The diarist further explores drugs and loses her virginity while under the influence of acid. She goes through a whirlwind of emotions, feeling both attraction for her old crush, Roger, and guilt about her drug use and sexual experiences. She also fears possible pregnancy. Upon returning home, she is readily accepted by her family and gets prescribed tranquilizers for insomnia. During this time, she feels that her friend, Beth has changed and forms a new friendship with a trendy girl named Chris. The duo, sharing a distaste for the establishment and their families, dive deeper into drug abuse and even start selling drugs to afford their habit. They eventually witness a shocking scene involving their friends Richie and Ted, which propels them to relocate to San Francisco, swear off drugs, and start anew by opening a jewelry shop. However, their commitment to sobriety does not last long. They attend a party thrown by an older woman named Sheila and end up using drugs again. A horrific revelation about Sheila leads them to quit drugs once more and they manage to set up a successful jewelry shop. The diarist returns home for Christmas, is revived by her family's love, and even manages to resist the advances of her old friends to try drugs. Nonetheless, she eventually succumbs and falls back into drug use, leading to a police raid and subsequent probation. With her life spiraling out of control, the diarist hitchhikes to various states, experiences the harsh realities of life on the streets, and eventually meets a priest who convinces her to return home. She does and, despite experiencing some terrifying drug-induced episodes and losing her grandparents, she manages to maintain her sobriety, forms a romantic relationship with a freshman named Joel, and even begins to dream of a future in psychology or child guidance. Tragically, the story ends with her mysterious death from an overdose, underscoring the dangerous and oftentimes deadly consequences of drug abuse.

diary 1 sep 16 - dec 17

On September 16, Alice, the diarist the book title refers to, starts her first diary entry. She bought the diary when she was overjoyed after being asked out by a boy named Roger. But today, it seems like Roger has turned her down, and she's worried about facing humiliation at school tomorrow. On September 17, she feels deeply insecure at school, questioning why people always seem to hurt her. Between September 19 and 23, Alice turns fifteen and feels bored with life, disturbed only by her increasing weight, which she despises. She's uplifted by the news of her father's new job at a different university, which means they will be moving. Alice feels optimistic about this change and makes a resolution in her diary to transform herself by losing weight. She daydreams about Roger asking her out again and her turning him down. On October 10, Alice and her family are thrilled about their forthcoming move. Alice is particularly excited about her fresh start, though she wants to take her loved books with her. On October 17, she's happy at school, now that she knows she's moving, and she's over Roger. On October 22, Alice goes out with a schoolmate, obsesses about her weight, and confesses in her diary that she still harbors feelings for Roger. On November 10, Alice worries about leaving her lifelong home, promising to take her diary everywhere. On November 30, her grandparents visit, and she's saddened about leaving them. On December 4, her mother notices Alice's abnormal eating habits and insists she eat properly, which Alice resents as she considers forcing herself to throw up post-meals. On December 10, Alice acknowledges that she feels most authentic with her diary, as she feels she loses her identity when trying to fit in with friends. On December 17, Alice and her mother sew a dress for a Christmas gathering. Alice aspires to be like her mother and ponders whether her mother experienced similar adolescent struggles. Alice wishes she could discuss these issues with her mom rather than her unreliable friends. On December 22, after a boy kisses her on the way home from the party, Alice remains insecure and wishes for better success in all aspects. On December 25, Alice enjoys her last Christmas in her current home with her extended family but feels melancholy about leaving. The book, Go Ask Alice, begins with issues that are as current today as they were in the '60s: teenage anxieties about boys, peer acceptance, emerging sexuality, and family dynamics. Alice is an observant, sensitive, and insecure girl who pens her complex thoughts and feelings with clear and comprehensible language. Her diary acts as her refuge, where she can explore herself when the outside world proves disappointing. Alice treats her diary as a close friend, seeking its assistance in her weight-loss regime. Similarly, her books provide an escape from a dreary and painful reality to an imaginative world that is very much a part of her. Alice loves writing as it allows her to live in a world that experiences her as much as she experiences it.

diary 1 jan 1 - jul 14

On New Year's Day, Alice leaves a party as the boys become unruly. She's eager for her family's upcoming move, but shares in her diary her anxieties about adjusting to a new environment. The family's relocation is initially challenging and dampens their mood, but they eventually settle in. Alice grows to appreciate their new home, and despite her fears, she looks forward to starting school. Her siblings, Tim and Alexandria, have made friends, while Alice struggles socially and feels left out. Despite this, she determines to maintain a positive attitude. Unfortunately, her social issues persist in school, causing Alice to reflect on her own past behavior towards newcomers. By January 7, the family has successfully adapted to their new surroundings, except for Alice who still feels isolated. As the days progress, Alice continues to feel alienated and experiences weight gain and a slump in her personal grooming. On March 18, she befriends Greta, a fellow outcast at school, but Alice believes her family disapproves of their friendship. On a positive note, Alice's mother offers her a summer visit to her grandmother's if she improves her grades. Alice is thrilled and plans to slim down. Regardless, familial tensions rise, particularly with her siblings. Later, Alice befriends Beth, a Jewish girl who lives nearby. Alice's interest in Beth's religion sparks a realization of their shared similarities and a subsequent doubt about her friendship with Greta. Alice's parents are fond of Beth while Alice regrets the growing gap in communication with her mother. Alice and Beth's bond deepens, and they explore their religious beliefs. They discuss Jewish wedding customs and Alice finds herself wishing she knew more about her own religion. After school ends, they double date with two Jewish boys, but Alice's date turns out to be overly touchy. Beth's departure for a Jewish summer camp upsets Alice, who feels she's losing her only confidante. Staying at her grandmother's, Alice feels bored, but a chance meeting with Jill, a former popular schoolmate, leads to an invitation to a party. At the party, Alice unwittingly consumes LSD infused soda and experiences her first psychedelic trip. She is thrilled by the experience but promises herself not to repeat it. Alice grapples with her guilt over the drug use but is interested in trying marijuana. As her diary now contains references to illegal activities, she decides to lock it up. She meets Bill, the boy who helped her during her LSD trip, and agrees to go out with him. Alice's drug exploration reminds her of Alice in Wonderland, causing her to wonder if the author used drugs. Throughout these six months, Alice's social shifts and inner conflicts pave the way for her drug experimentation. Despite her father's growing reputation at the university and her family's disproval of her friendship with Greta, Alice consistently feels alienated from her family's middle-class ideals. Her friendship with Beth is a sincere effort to conform to societal norms. Her religious ignorance signals another area where she feels disconnected. Despite her lack of faith, Alice's worldly knowledge allows her to identify societal hypocrisies, like her parents' failure to see through her date's false pretenses.

diary 1 jul 20 - sep 10

In one summer, Alice falls deeper into the world of drugs during her outings with Bill, even resorting to injecting speed into her system. She experiences a sense of liberation, yet contemplates life and death after her grandfather suffers a heart attack. She considers going home, perceiving something off about her drug use despite its allure. As her grandfather recovers, Alice assists her grandmother, trying her best to avoid her drug-fuelled circle. However, she gives in to temptation during a party at Bill's place, immersing herself in the hallucinatory effects of acid. In a haze, she ends up sleeping with Bill, causing her to worry about potential pregnancy and regret not saving herself for Roger. When Roger pays a surprise visit, Alice is filled with guilt about her recent activities. Her feelings for Roger are overwhelming but her guilt prevents her from communicating with him. She yearns for someone to confide in about her drug experiences and ends up taking her grandfather's sleeping pills to cope with her turmoil. Upon returning home, Alice is welcomed warmly by her family. She decides to turn her life around, yet fears the possibility of being pregnant. By this time, her dependence on sleeping pills has escalated, and she begins experimenting with tranquilizers. She writes an emotional letter to Roger, contemplating introducing him to her world of drugs. However, when she discovers she's not pregnant, she resolves to discard all of her pills. Alice's friend Beth returns from camp transformed, furthering Alice's sense of alienation. After a makeover by a store employee, Chris, Alice's mother disapproves of her new appearance. Alice feels misunderstood by her parents who seem more interested in lecturing her rather than listening. Her heart aches when she learns that Roger won't be back until Christmas, but she promises to wait for him. Chris provides her with a pill to uplift her mood, which works but leaves her so restless she needs a sleeping pill to unwind. This period of Alice's life is marked by her deepening involvement with drugs, contrasting starkly with her former conventional lifestyle. Her ongoing guilt, especially in relation to her grandfather's ailing health, conflicts with her perception that those around her have changed, not her. However, it's evident that Alice's rapidly shifting behavior and increased tolerance to pills are clear indicators of her transformation. Despite her turbulent emotional state, she attributes her fluctuating behavior to the rollercoaster ride that is life.

diary 1 sep 12 - nov 22

Alice's parents accuse her of behaving like a hippie. She finds a confidante in Chris, a girl from a wealthy family, who gets Alice a job at her store. The two girls become popular at school, and Alice falls into a habit of taking speed pills. Alice's father disapproves of her behavior, leading Alice and Chris to make plans to escape to San Francisco. Chris introduces Alice to Richie, a college boy, who gets her high on marijuana for the first time. Alice and Chris start selling drugs for money, with Alice persuading Richie to sell LSD instead. Alice is infatuated with Richie and is willing to do anything to support him, including experimenting sexually with him while sober. Alice sells LSD to an elementary school kid, but regrets it immediately, vowing never to sell there again. She and Chris find out that Richie and Ted are sexually involved with each other, leading to Alice's shame and regret. Alice and Chris decide to run away to San Francisco. Alice plans to report Richie to the police and pledges to stay clean with Chris. They depart for Salt Lake City, heading towards San Francisco. Alice worries Richie might track her down since she's the only one who could have given detailed information to the police about his illegal activities. She leaves a guilt-ridden farewell letter to her family. In San Francisco, they move into a grimy one-room apartment. Alice finds work in a lingerie shop, while Chris gets a job in a boutique. Despite securing jobs, Alice is homesick and fears for her safety from Richie. Alice switches jobs, working for a friendly custom jeweler, Mr. Mellani. She enjoys time with his warm Italian family but feels a pang of loneliness. Alice is invited to a party by Sheila, the owner of the boutique Chris works in. Alice is thrilled but nervous about interacting with the classy guests. Alice's rebellion against her middle-class background is evident in her actions and words. Following a disagreement with her parents, she criticizes mainstream society for its conformity. This shift in her values is reflected in her language, including her casual use of slang. She points out the hypocrisy of how her father's academic language is accepted, but the counterculture language is frowned upon.

diary 1 nov 23 - feb 24

From November 23rd to December 3rd, Alice and Chris are taken aback by Sheila's lavish lifestyle. They are drawn into drug use, leading to nights of forgotten events and Alice's concern about potential pregnancy. Despite this, Alice continues partying, captivated by Sheila. However, after a tragic incident involving Sheila, her boyfriend, and heroin, Alice and Chris decide to abandon their drug habits and aim to start a boutique. Between December 5th and 10th, Chris's business acumen and Alice's creativity lead them to open a jewelry shop in Berkeley. As their shop grows in popularity, it becomes a local hangout spot. Alice, resonating with a Beatles song, secretly plans to return home. By December 18th, the drug talk of the regulars at their shop begins to irritate Alice, making her homesick. On December 22nd, Alice calls home, bringing her mother to tears with the news that she and Chris are returning. Her family, including her grandparents, gather to welcome her home. Alice feels relieved when she can't find Richie and Ted's contact information. The festive season and unity of her family uplift Alice's spirits. From December 26th to January 1st, Alice senses maturity and acceptance from her family. She contemplates the struggles of adolescence, optimistic about the worst being over. She decides to let go of her feelings for Roger, dismissing it as a youthful crush. Alice enjoys a New Year's party hosted by her family, enjoying the company of the guests and helping with the cleanup. Between January 4th and 13th, Alice returns to school, expressing an interest in learning Spanish. She faces speculation about selling drugs and receives an invitation to a party. However, she prefers family time and shares her concerns about peers trying to drag her back into drugs. Her mother agrees to plan family activities over the next few weekends, leading to a wonderful time at a mountain cabin. From January 14th to 21st, Alice feels pressure from a classmate, Lane, who aggressively demands drugs from her. Alice's mother suspects something is wrong and advises her to stay home from school. However, Alice remains silent about her struggles. Alice's school life gets tougher as more students try to coax her back into using drugs, while her mother remains naive about the situation.

diary 1 feb 27 - end

Alice is closely watched at home and she hates it. She continues to use drugs secretly, despising her psychiatrist. She runs away to Denver and stays with fellow drug addicts. They move to Oregon, but Alice becomes sick and loses her friends. A janitor directs her to a mission where she gets help. Alice meets Doris at the mission. Despite getting cleaned up and given vitamins, Alice continues taking drugs. Doris's tales of abuse sadden Alice. They try to escape their situation by hitchhiking to Southern California, but their journey is fraught with difficulties. In California, Alice gets involved in a cult and is labelled a "Priestess of Satan". She continues her drug use, even resorting to performing sexual acts for drugs. She reads about drug overdose deaths and wonders if she's pregnant. Alice eventually talks to a priest about why children run away. Her parents still love her and want her home. This makes Alice feel better and she decides to quit drugs. She reflects on her diary entries and is shocked by her past behavior. She contemplates suicide but instead decides to help others. Alice realizes that family dysfunction is the main issue amongst runaways. She understands that trying to please her parents led her to escape. However, she isn't ready for independence. She needs to love herself before focusing on her own desires. Religion helps Alice navigate her path. She believes her suffering has made her more empathetic. Her decision to help others has religious nuances. Alice's thoughts of overdosing serve as potential warnings of her suicidal tendencies.

diary 2 apr 6 - may 21

In early April, Alice is eager to rebuild her bonds with her family. She contemplates how she'll communicate the risks and dangers of drugs to youngsters when she becomes a counselor. Her conversation on drugs and other vital matters with her brother, Tim, leaves her feeling proud yet guilty for the distress she may have inflicted on him. When she sees her grandparents, she's overcome with emotion and makes a promise to make them proud. Life astonishes her, highlighted by the birth of their cat's kittens. A few days later, the school principal reprimands Alice harshly for her past conduct, reinforcing her aspiration to become a guidance counselor. Alice then experiences an incident where she faints while planning a present for her mom's birthday, haunted by the fear that she's losing her sanity. On her mother's birthday, Alice prepares a dinner that everyone appreciates. Observing her sister's gift to their mother, she realizes that she no longer feels jealous of her sibling. She looks forward to the prospect of marriage. The next day, she examines herself in the mirror and despite not being fully content, appreciates her femininity. She struggles to outrun her past as it continues to haunt her. Towards the end of the month, Alice finds herself alienated from her peers. Her friend Jan, a drug-user, predicts she'll return to drugs. Alice feels awkward as she is rejected by both the drug-free kids and the drug-users. She focuses on her studies while longing for a conventional dating experience. Alice's grandfather suffers a stroke in early May, causing great distress. He slips into a coma and eventually passes away, leaving Alice horrified at the thought of his decomposing body. The sight of his lifeless body at the funeral shocks her and she marvels at her grandmother's fortitude. She grapples with the concept of death while trying to understand the complexities of life, seeking solace in her belief in God. She has a disturbing dream about her grandfather, which her mother interrupts to discuss Alice's future career in social work. In mid-May, Alice attends an anti-war rally with her father, who shares his concerns about the current generation. Alice attributes the deteriorating physical and mental health of young people to both adults and kids. In a distressing incident, someone slips a joint in her bag, and she seeks refuge in her father's office. Although he provides comfort, she feels he cannot fully grasp her situation. Alice starts using the university library with her father's permission, finding solace in the tranquil environment.

diary 2 may 22 - jul 3

Alice befriends a freshman named Joel at her university library. Despite his challenging circumstances as a janitor and his mother working in a factory, Joel is a dedicated student. The two bond and he is well-received by her family during a dinner invitation. At school, Alice is isolated but she doesn't mind. When her grandmother's house is sold, Alice sympathizes but is engrossed in her dreams of marrying Joel. She gets into trouble with a troubled classmate, Jan, but finds solace in her studies and in Joel. Her grandmother's health deteriorates and Alice's fears increase as she starts receiving threats from her classmates. A drug-related incident at school escalates her fears. Her relationship with Joel cools down and she is coerced into drug use by a classmate. Her grandmother's death deeply affects her, but Joel helps her cope. They share a kiss. Alice feels alienated from her peers. She is blamed for a drug raid at a party and faces an assault on the street. Despite these challenges, Joel remains supportive. They share family keepsakes. At a party marking the end of school, Alice observes the divisions within her high school. She finds some hope in the friendliness shown by the "squares". She eagerly anticipates summer school and is relieved when the drug-using students stop bothering her. She lands a babysitting job and reflects on her grandmother's death and her past experiences. Throughout this period, Alice reaffirms her commitment to her family's middle-class values and education. Her relationship with Joel deepens, despite her insecurities. Through Joel's example, she understands that one can grow from experiences unrelated to drugs. Despite his hardships, Joel's resilience inspires Alice to see value in her own trials.

diary 2 jul

Alice is penning an entry from a hospital, clueless about how she got there. In a distressed state, she believes worms are gnawing at her body, compelling her to bite her fingers to the bone and scrape her skin raw. She is terrified of a fly in her room, imagining it laying eggs on her. Her parents visit daily, waiting for her mental state to improve. She attributes her mental breakdown to an accidental ingestion of acid. Her father informs her that the acid was hidden in chocolate-covered peanuts she had while babysitting. During the acid-induced hallucinations, she saw her deceased grandfather, who loved peanuts, appear as a skeletal figure being devoured by worms, which then attacked her. Her parents suspect that someone had spiked Alice's food with acid without her knowledge. Alice feels relieved and suspects someone but can't confirm it. She's recovering and will be moved to another hospital soon. She's learning to control her hallucination about worms, even though they feel very real. She receives a bunch of letters from Joel that her mother brought. On July 22, Alice learns she is being moved to a mental institution. She's accused of consuming drugs and selling them. During the acid incident, she was locked in a closet by neighbors after hearing her screams, causing her to injure herself. The prospect of the asylum scares her more than the hallucinations. On July 23, Alice enters the State Mental Hospital. She feels out of place in the unfamiliar building and amongst its inmates. Two days later, she's introduced to the daily routine at the Youth Center - the hospital's school and recreational center. She feels isolated among the other kids. Dr. Miller advises Alice she will only get help when she admits she has a problem. Alice believes she can resist drugs. On July 26, Alice befriends a 13-year-old girl, Babbie. Babbie misinterprets Alice's invitation to talk in her room as a sexual advance. Babbie shares her life story of drug abuse and prostitution initiated by an older man. She ended up in the asylum after consuming homemade LSD. Alice views the asylum as a prison that's making her madness worse.

diary 2 jul 27 - sep 21

Between July 27 and 29, Alice struggles to find comfort in prayer and longs for the end of her life. She begins attending school at the Youth Center, appreciating the change of environment from her room in the mental institution. Her life in the institution is slowly draining her, mirroring the experience of her peer, Babbie. On July 31, Alice finds some solace by participating in a group therapy session led by a fellow inmate. He encourages her to share her fears. On August 1, Alice's parents come to visit. They believe Alice's side of the story and plan on getting Jan, the girl who accused Alice, to retract her statement. The following day, Dr. Miller, also believing Alice, encourages her to socialize with the other kids as practice for becoming a social worker. Alice hopes to help Babbie learn to read as she waits to be placed in a foster home. Over the next few days, Alice engages in conversations about drug experiences with fellow inmates. Alice's parents visit again on August 5, bringing with them a heartfelt letter from Joel, Alice's friend. After hearing that Jan has recanted her statement and efforts are underway to get the other girl to do the same, Alice gets hopeful about her release. The letter from Joel makes her eager to reunite with him. On August 8, Alice is overjoyed upon learning that she will be going home the next day, even though she feels guilty about leaving Babbie behind. Back home on August 9, Alice is overjoyed to be with her family and thanks God for her freedom as well as prayers for Jan and the other girl. During a family trip from August 14, where her dad is guest lecturing at a university, Alice acknowledges Joel as the only positive aspect in her life and resolves to refrain from sex until marriage. Their enjoyable stay at the university is cut short by an encounter with poison ivy, and a sudden call for her father to return to the university disrupts their plans to visit Joel in Chicago. From September 6 to 10, Alice is invited to a swimming event by Fawn, a "straight" friend, causing her to feel insecure despite Fawn's group's acceptance. Alice enjoys their company and is anxious about them learning of her past. On September 16, her former piano teacher invites Alice to perform a solo at a recital, leaving Alice excited but uncertain. Alice realizes that she needs to tell Fawn about her past before she hears it from someone else after attending a party hosted by Fawn on September 19. Alice's father's birthday is celebrated on September 20 with presents from Alice, including a sweater and one of her poems. Joel shows up as a surprise guest, presenting Alice with a friendship ring, which she promises to wear forever. By September 21, Alice is anxious about starting school again, but feels more confident with the support from her new friends and Joel. She concludes that she no longer requires a diary as she now has people to talk to in her life.

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