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Cringe: Teenage Diaries, Journals, Notes, Letters, Poems, and Abandoned Rock Operas Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 26, 2008

6 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, August 26, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Drawn directly-as in direct reproductions-from the adolescent diaries, notes, letters and writing projects of average twenty- and thirty-somethings, this book from blogger Brown, founder of the Cringe reading series in Brooklyn, should elicit the correct reaction. Consisting of original entries, many scrawled in cryptic handwriting, coupled with present-day commentary, they hash out the anxiety, confusion and melodrama of adolescence in a number of familiar forms: "Whatever. I totally have a math test tomorrow and I'm so close to being grounded it's not even funny. My mom is a total PSYCHOTIC. Seriously." Unfortunately, the excerpts are largely unexceptional (and unfunny) and the commentary only intermittently engaging; nostalgic value, unfortunately, does not carry it nearly as far as recent, similarly-themed volumes that benefit from outrageously awkward, instant-classic photos (Camp Camp and Bar Mitzvah Disco by Roger Bennett and Jules Shell), clear presentation and canny editing (David Nadelberg's Mortified), or a singular (and whip-smart) viewpoint (Lesley Arfin's Dear Diary). In a time of internet-driven over-sharing, it seems there's still some things best left in the boxes and drawers they came from.
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The most embarrassing thing you will ever read The Times Read, laugh, empathise and cringe until your toes curl! Daily Record A laugh-out-loud collection of real teenage angst, along with melodramatic notes, bad poetry and biting commentary from the 'adults' who once penned them Cambridge News This will take you on an uncomfortable but hilarious trip down memory lane No. 1 Magazine (Scotland) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; 1 edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307393585
  • ASIN: B002RAR20W
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.7 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,975,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sarah Brown is the creator and host of the Brooklyn-based Cringe reading series, which has garnered accolades from NPR, ABC Nightline, Newsweek, Time Out New York, Spin, The Times (of London), and the Los Angeles Times, and she has edited two humor compilations on the subject. Her work has been published in Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney's Humor Category (Knopf, 2004) and Things I Learned About My Dad: Humorous and Heartfelt Essays edited by the creator of (Kensington, 2008). Brown has been writing online for nearly a decade at her popular personal blog,, and her writing has appeared in McSweeney's, Gawker, and The Morning News, among others. She lives in New York.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Littlefield on September 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I laugh out loud when I ready this book! And I feel like I'm doing something wrong by reading all these journal entries; such fun!
The entries make me remember all those embarrassing moments in middle school and high school which I was not brave enough to record much less share with millions of people. Kudos to Sarah Brown for pulling all this together!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Myers on July 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I really liked having this book as a quick thing to look at when I am bored. While it was entertaining, some of the things are hard to read (handwriting-wise), which I didn't like. Some of the things were a bit long and could have been cut down to keep them more interesting, or just not included. Also, while it is a nice book, it isn't really one that you can read more than once. All that being said, I still think it would make a nice coffee table book to have for friends to look at and such.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mia on July 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a compilation of journal entries written by teenagers, which (like teenagers) can either be terribly funny or just plain terrible. There are definitely some stand-out entries and a few that I really identified with, but overall there were a lot of "had to be there" pieces that fell flat for me. Most of the authors were able to provide a blurb about the context of the entry, which helped, but there are numerous pieces that are uncredited and don't provide any context and those were some of the weakest pieces. Although a decent number of these entries were laughable, I think the "cringe-worthy" moments really only would work if being read by the author (which is where this concept originated, an open-mic night where people read pages from their teenage diaries). It's hard to convey why a certain moment in time is so embarrassing with only a single, out-of-context page from a diary. I guess I had expected more entries about wetting pants or farting in class -- moments that really stand out as embarrassing. Instead, it's a lot of pining for boys that don't know you exist and seriously terrible teenage poetry.

As other reviewers have said, the entries are all scans of actual journal entries and so depending on the writer's penmanship, many are very difficult to read. For me, one of the stand-outs is the pages that were used for the interior cover pages: one girl kept a daily wardrobe list, to ensure that she didn't repeat outfits for school. I found this hilarious and also felt like it was well used (it would have been less interesting as an "entry" in the book but works perfectly for a quick browse when you open the book).

I also agree with another reviewer that this book has little to no repeatability -- meaning that once you've read it, you probably won't need to go back and read it again. It's entertaining, but should be a "loan forward" type of book to pass along to other people.
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