cover image Go Ask Alice Book of ANS

Go Ask Alice Book of ANS

Columbia University's Health Education P, Columbia University Health Education Pro. Holt McDougal, $18 (368pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-5570-2

Go Ask Alice, an information service originally available only to Columbia University students but later accessible to others through its Web site, takes book form in this eye-opening collection of questions and answers. The queries are representative of those e-mailed by anonymous visitors to the Go Ask Alice Web site. Responses are from experienced health-care providers and professional health educators. The special value of this work is the personal nature of the questions--they are often ones many people would be afraid to ask or wouldn't know whom to ask--and the positive, sympathetic nature of the responses. Topics includes relationships, sexuality (anatomy, physiology and sexual response), sexual health (reproduction, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases), emotional health, fitness and nutrition, alcohol, nicotine and other drugs, and general health. Whether about nose piercing or sniffing lighter fluid, from a worried lesbian or anxious bulemic, all questions are taken seriously, treated respectfully and given straightforward, nonjudgmental answers. Some are marked with an ""R,"" indicating that more information is to be found in back-of-the-book sources, which often include Web sites and e-mail addresses. A word to parents of the college-bound: don't let them leave home without it. (Sept.)