Thursday, July 01, 2021

Go Ask Alice

Were you ever influenced by a book as a teenager?  The one book that had a huge impact on me was Go Ask Alice.  The author at that time was listed as anonymous but researching, it has now been attributed to Beatrice Sparks, a therapist of that time period.  The time period of the book is early 1970's, the era of my youth and angst as a teenager.  I still had my copy that was purchased through the Scholastic Book club paper you were given at school.  I saw my copy on the shelf and decided I wanted to revisit the book I felt affected me as a young teenage girl.  This morning I was awake at 3 am and started in on the read. (Yes could not sleep!)  I've read to about page 32 and it has brought back a lot of 14 year old feelings.  The book is written in diary entries and I believe influenced me to begin journaling.  Of course back then I wasn't as prolific as I am now but it definitely hit home.  The girl, Alice is filled with feelings of self doubt, insecurities, feeling alone, a square peg in a world of round holes.  Feelings I felt myself at that age.  She also had an injury in her 5th grade year, getting hit by a car and in a cast.  Wow, I could really identify with that with breaking my leg in the 6th grade and in a cast.  Lots of parallels in the book, EXCEPT I did not take the drug journey like she did.  The book terrified me against drugs and I was definitely in that era for the height of drug use. I stayed on the path of a goody-two-shoes (as my sister called me) of wanting to be a hippy but not engaging in the practices of being a hippy.  The character of Alice also is overly concerned with her weight and diets constantly or flat doesn't eat.  WOW, that was my youth too.  My cousin and I hung out a lot in that time period and she was an influence on me with the weight stuff.  She is two years older than me and we were of the same build and height.  She had a pool and I practically lived at her house in Tulsa.  We would diet together, trying to see who had the flattest stomach each morning and constantly weighing ourselves so we could fit into our bikini's and work on our tans.  Luckily I never got into the purge thing, but the not eating, yes that was me.  I'm looking forward to finishing the book to see how much more of me I can see, the young me, in the pages.

In the stack of the paperbacks on the shelf I also had Lord of the Flies, Johnny Got His Gun, and Of Mice and Men.  I plan on re-reading theses classics again.  May have to find a copy of The Outsiders again.  I had a copy I borrowed from a girl in high school and felt so guilty that I STILL had it that I mailed it back to her a few years ago.  I know, Goody-Two-Shoes, I come by that moniker quite naturally.  Can't help it.  

Were there books, poems or even sayings that influenced you as a child?

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