A brilliantly original novel of the 1970s countercultureAlice 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 ...
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.