I picked this book up because I had read that it was a modern classic. How disappointing to find out it’s a complete work of fiction when the editor said it was edited from a real 15 year old girl’s diary.
Set in the late 60’s/early 70’s, this is a diary from a teenage girl who unwittingly gets mixed up in the drug scene of the time, when her soft drink is laced with LSD at a party. After she experiences an amazing “trip” she seeks out more and more drugs. Pretty soon she is losing her virginity and pushing drugs as a dealer, even selling to elementary school kids. During the course of the book she runs away twice and cleans up her life numerous times. Once when she runs away the drug world she gets involved in is so debased that she struggles through the rest of the diary trying to forget the horrible things she’s done.
Just when you think this unnamed girl’s life has begun to get better she eats some peanuts she didn’t know were laced in acid and she ends up on a bad trip thinking maggots and worms are crawling all over her so she beats herself and claws her skin to oblivion. She ends up in the hospital, and more importantly the psyche ward. The diary ends with her going back to her family, committed to lead a drug free life, and enjoying her birthday and new stable boyfriend. The epilogue tells us that she died 3 weeks after ending the diary from a drug overdose. I would be sad if I didn’t know this book was total hooey.
If this had been a real diary of a real girl (debunked on Snopes), it would have been engaging, horrifying, and tragic. Instead it’s a failed attempt by the morality police at the time to “keep kids off drugs.” I’ve known plenty of drug users in my time and no one has gone into this kind of a descent this quickly as the girl in the book. Yes, I’ve seen some people brought down to some substantial lows, but nothing like this and not this quick. It made wonder what kind of counter-culture nonsense was going on at this time. This isn’t what my parents told me about the ’60s!
I found this as annoying to read as I would my own journals from my teenagehood. All the normal teenage angst and social dramas that I would rather forget, jam packed with drugs, prostitution, and teenage sex. No thank you. At least I know now where the colloquialism, “don’t take candy from strangers,” comes from.