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One Pill Makes You Smaller [Signed First Edition]

Lisa Dierbeck

236 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0374226490 / ISBN 13: 9780374226497
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Dan Pope Books
West Hartford, CT, U.S.A.

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AbeBooks Seller Since October 12, 2002

About this Item

New York: Farrar Straus Giroux [2003]. First edition. First printing. Hardbound. New in dust jacket, a very fine/very fine copy in all respects. A pristine unread copy. Comes with acid-free mylar dust jacket protector. SIGNED BY AUTHOR on title page. [CASE5] 0.0. Bookseller Inventory # Pig61

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Bibliographic Details

Title: One Pill Makes You Smaller [Signed First ...

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: New

Dust Jacket Condition: New

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition....

About this title


A brilliantly original novel of the 1970s counterculture

Alice Duncan is an eleven-year-old girl who looks so much like a grown woman, she attracts the attention of adult men. Abandoned by her mother and neglected by her father who has checked himself into a mental asylum, Alice and her sixteen year old Aunt Esme live on their own in an Upper East Side townhouse, entertaining teenage boys, shoplifting at department stores, and dining on cookies and pizza--until Esme decides to fly off to L.A. with a singer in a punk rock band. Alice, left to her own devices, travels by bus to North Carolina to attend the Balthus Institute, a shadowy art school for gifted children. While Alice is being groomed to become an artist, she meets a wheelchair bound photographer of broken dolls, a queenly French surrealist sculptor, a pair of twins who are child prodigies, and a charming, sinister character known only as "J.D." A hedonistic drug dealer who is equal parts criminal and prankster, J.D. slowly inducts Alice into an outlaw counterculture. They form a dangerous friendship.

Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, One Pill Makes You Smaller is the story of a young girl forced to navigate a bewildering adult world where morality is turned upside down. Set in the permissive seventies and suffused with the atmosphere of that reckless time, the novel portrays a young girl's unwilling tumble toward adulthood and exposes the darker corners of America's past.


Set in the bell-bottomed, experimental 1970s, Lisa Dierbeck's debut novel, One Pill Makes You Smaller, features a smart, young protagonist on a long, strange trip. As if she consumed a cake marked "Eat Me," Alice Duncan feels monstrously tall for her age. At 11 years old she stands 5'7" and fully developed, and beautiful too. Alice wants people to notice her collage artwork, but seems only to attract the sort of attention she's too young to know what to do with.

Borrowing from Lewis Carroll's classic, Dierbeck sends Alice on a similarly startling and surreal journey--spooky and compelling and drug-filled like the Jefferson Airplane song based on the same book. Alice's parents are as absent as those in the original story, leaving her under the care of her coke-snorting teenage half-sister, Aunt Esme. The rabbit hole in this case is The Balthus Institute, a dilapidated summer camp in North Carolina where Aunt Esme sends Alice so she can pursue a rock star in Los Angeles. Upon arrival Alice discovers that Balthus is less an art institute than a mental institution, populated by a tiny assemblage of strange and threatening inhabitants. Arrogant twin sisters take the place of Tweedledum and Tweedledee, and the Cheshire Cat appears in the form of grinning J.D., a drug dealer and seducer who leads Alice down a dangerous path. By the end of her harrowing journey, not even a bottle marked "Drink Me" could bring back Alice's lost innocence. A convincing, disturbing read. --Brangien Davis

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