Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lucy in the Sky by Anonymous

I originally chose this book because I am a big Beatles fan. This book has nothing to do with The Beatles. 

This book is presented as the diary of a 16 year old girl. She receives a journal on her 16th birthday and decides to start writing in it in accordance with her yoga classes in order to express her emotions and let them out in a healthy way. During one of her yoga classes, she meets Ross, an attractive California surfer who introduces her to a world of drugs and partying. Anonymous, being an awkward teenage girl with few friends, follows him into a downward spiral of sex, drugs, and partying that slowly grows from one drink, one puff from a joint into LSD, heroin, and cocaine. Her brother, Cam, is the only one outside of her group of friends that knows what is going on. Can he or anyone else save her?

This book was met with primarily positive reviews. However, I personally don't agree with these reviews on the basis that this book is presented as non-fiction but is, in fact, fiction. There is a small disclaimer in the front of the book saying that this book is a piece of fiction, but if you're anything like me, you skip all those intro pages and dive straight into the book. It made me think of A Million Little Pieces and the conspiracy that surrounded that. 

I know many people who have experienced hard drug addiction. Their stories are both more interesting and more realistic. For example, Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis of The Red Hot Chili Peppers is an extremely moving story about his own experiences with heroin addiction. This story is also true. 

Many of the experiences Anonymous talks about when she's feeling high sound very textbook, and it makes the reader frustrated that she goes back to drugs again and again despite placing more emphasis on the negative things that happened while she was on drugs rather than the feeling of the high. Drug addiction is frustrating. It is extremely frustrating to watch someone go back again and again to drugs despite bad things, but this story is told from the first person. In order to make the ending more shocking and scare kids off drugs (which is clearly the goal of this book), I believe it is important to make the drugs attractive because they are inherently attractive. Kids are smart. They should know that being high feels great, but its not worth your life or your freedom. I find this to be the greatest fault of the book. They need their curiosity satisfied rather than just scaring them into trying it for themselves.

On the other hand, I would actually recommend this book for study in a psychology class. I think that the reactions to having to go through the 12 Step Program and to peer pressure are realistic. I think that when teaching this book, the teacher should spend quite a bit of time on real stories about drug addiction. It is an interesting, though predictable, story, but it is morally questionable. 


Zia Nathan said...

I'm actually kind of disappointed that you didn't enjoy this book because I remember reading "Go Ask Alice" and "Jay's Journal" in Jr. High and high school and loving both of them, and I know this book is written "In the tradition" of those books as an anonymous journal. This book actually sounds almost exactly like "Go Ask Alice" the way she's introduced to drugs is almost the same. It sounds like the author is trying to recreate the magic of "Go Ask Alice" because that book to me was a very realistic depiction of the life of someone struggling with drug issues, even though it is fiction.

I also actually thought "Go Ask Alice" was non-fiction when I first read it, so I had the same issues you have with "Lucy in the Sky" after I found out it wasn't.

Tess said...

I like how you connected this book to A Million Little Pieces. I understand your frustration because I felt the same way that when I found out most of that "memoir" was false and made up. However, I think books with these sort of topics of drugs, addiction, and alcohol are very appealing to teens. It can be a book that they can relate to like you said about peer pressure.

Alexandra Klitz said...

I just want to say that I've never read any of the other "Anonymous" books, but I don't like the idea of fiction presented as non-fiction.

Vincent Restivo said...

@ Alexandra, well the thing is with these books they try to strike a realistic tone and not go too far into fantasy except maybe delving in a little bit when they get to psychedelic drug use. Overall I personally find it to be an effective writing style for a book in the first person although to be honest from this review it just sounds as many of you have pointed out like this is the poor man's Go Ask Alice.

mkorkmaz said...

I think ,this book could be useful for teenage to explain that how are the dangerous drugs and how can disturb their life. I like it.

Chelsea said...

I still just want to know/having a hard time figure out why her parents let her go out or to that party if this only happened just a month ago? ... so sad.