Louisa May Alcott Takes On Party Girl

I’m obviously not the first person to write a “drug novel” along the lines of The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl. Stephen J. Gertz’s Dope Menace does a great job of cataloging the best titles in the genre, and as Robert Schnakenberg notes in Secret Lives of Great Authors, Louisa May Alcott’s A Modern Mephisopheles and Work: A Story of Experience are based in part on her own experience with opiates. For a shorter version of Alcott’s take on the 19th century drug scene, however, you can read “Perilous Play,” a story of young lovers experimenting with forbidden fruit. The more things change, it would seem, the more they stay the same.

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