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on August 7, 2007
I can't say I hated Dear Diary but I'm not a total convert like all the other reviewers here.

There are definitely some sections - particularly her middle and high school entries - where I felt like "OMG, that's EXACTLY how I was feeling at that age." And her updated commentary on some of those passages is really spot on and, in some cases, very funny. I also thought her description of her first time in rehab had some bittersweet, and in one case, hilarious, moments.

But on the other hand, as another reviewer mentions, I have a really hard time with her claim that she published the book to let girls know they aren't alone in what they might be going through. Nothing in her "update" commentary is particularly dissuading about drug use... or even tormenting your friends, for that matter. She seems to have taken thinly veiled delight in the fact that, although her middle school friends tormented and ousted her, they were also tormented and ousted by each other.

While she is a decent writer, and the entries aren't quite as boring as one reviewer would have you believe, I was ultimately left with the feeling that I really don't like or care about Leslie that much. She may be sober now and she may have gone through the school of hard knocks like a real champ but she still comes across like an immature, spoiled upper middle class Gen-Xer. Ironically, she pretty much admits this.
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on November 1, 2008
When I first picked up Dear Diary from a stack of vacation reading, I thought it was going to be a funny read. The idea/gimmick is that the author goes through the diary she kept through her teen years, comments on the entries, and tries to track down the people she knew at the time to get their perspective on things.

Once I got a better look at the book, I realized that it was not just for laughs or nostalgia: the author descended into heroin addiction during her teen years, and she uses the diary entries to track her journey into drug use.

The book was a disappointment. The author tries to juxtapose her adult self with her teen self, but she actually comes off as as self-absorbed adult who thinks she's much more interesting than she is. When she tracks down childhood friends (and enemies), she doesn't get much out of them -- nothing you can't experience firsthand by finding your old classmates online and asking them what they remember about you.

It's hard to form a solid criticism of Dear Diary, because there's not enough substance there to critique. It tries to be funny, deep, even a cautionary tale, but it really doesn't hit the mark on any of these things. I was left feeling glad that Arfin got her drug addiction under control, but not so glad that I'd spent time reading her book.
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on December 25, 2007
I enjoyed reading this book and it does have its very honest, brave and hilarious moments. But I didn't feel like I could identify with a lot of the book and I agree with another reviewer-- nothing about this book particularly strikes me as, "These were my mistakes; don't make them too." I found the style of writing to be refreshingly conversational, but sometimes a little self-centered or self-righteous. Still, I enjoyed reading this book and will probably read it again in a few years.
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on July 13, 2012
I really loved this book...and I'm 42! Lesly Arfin got on my radar when I saw her in an episode of Girls. She was quirky and interesting to watch...and when I tried to find out more about who she was I came across this book. Every time I expected her to get corny and trite, she didn't. I found her writing to be really fresh and honest, and with feelings that any girl (or grown woman) could relate to having felt. And I loved the clever device of her reconnecting with these people from her past to find out their take of what had gone down (why did that mean girl treat her crappy in 8th grade...why didn't that one guy ever call her again, etc.). I was a big fan of her writing style and voice and look forward to tracking down more of Lesley Arfin to read.
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on December 20, 2008
I couldn't relate to this book at all. I mean, I know it's not meant to make everyone go "Omg, that was totally me!" but it was just too far gone. The only thing that made it bearable to read 'til the end -- were the commentaries. And that's not good enough. The drug usage was too much and too prevalent in everything. There was far too little information and detail to patch all the stories together throughout the book, as well.
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on March 25, 2008
author is shallow and full of herself...basically, she's the person who just wants to go on and on and on because she likes hearing herself speak.

there is nothing useful or helpful here, the writing is weak, undeveloped, and juvenile; the author seems very proud of herself for what she was involved in--and what info there is of that is very sketchy...even as i was reading this 5-minute story, i found myself wondering why this book was published at all.
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on January 29, 2009
I found this book appalling. Like another reviewer I picked this up thinking it would be a good beach book.

The writing is juvenile, the writer self absorbed. Rather than a cautionary tale, I thought it came off more as a teen guide to how much fun it is to abuse drugs and alcohol. Her advice to teen girls on first time sex - make sure you are really, really drunk. The descriptions of herion use were contradictory. At times she said it was bad, but mostly she talked about how great it feels.

I am pretty liberal, but I certainly wouldn't want my teen daughter reading this.
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on July 11, 2008
I had high expectations when I bought this book and they weren't met. I was expecting a book that ended in an epiphany or was written a little better, I guess. It's an honest book, however, and I did like how Arfin went back to the people she wrote about during her junior high and high school years to get questions answered which is why I have it more than 1 star. What I didn't like is that it all seemed so superficial. It was like Arfin was trying too hard throughout the book to be obscene--not through the original journal entries, but through the follow up conversations.

I think you might like it if you're in junior high or high school. You might be able to relate to a lot of the journal entries than I could being out of high school and away from the drama for so many years. Towards the end, once Arfin starts spiraling down on her heroin addiction, it becomes more real than reading about her first dry humping experience or first kiss.
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on September 24, 2007
This book really surprised me. Even though the cover of it's really ugly (and I like my books beautiful), I felt somewhat close to Lesley while reading this book because I identified with what she went through because I went through the exact same thing, except I didn't get horribly addicted to heroin (only a little addicted). I figured I would relate to it a little bit but I was surprised at how similiar my experience was to hers.
But what I liked most about this book is that it's a truthful, accurate portrayal of what young girls in America go through and are still going through. Girls in this country are so unbelievably confused and constantly making poor choices because, well, I blaim society. America breeds head-cases. America breeds drug addicts and under-age sex machines. And this book, or most of it, is what most of the young girls in America are going through right now and have been going through for a while and it isn't healthy, but it sure is nostalgic for me!
I really loved this book, it hit so close to home. I actually plan on giving it to an old friend I was a teenage head-case with so she can feel nostalgic too because I know she was going through the exact same thing aswel.
I suggest his book to all girls in America who's life wasn't perfect...which is all of them. But I warn you I don't think there is a man alive who will understand this book, or anyone under 16.
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on March 6, 2008
The writer talks as if you're having a cigarette outside of a mall rather than in a confessional. Comfortable but with a little distance,(for purposes only in protecting herself) she keeps herself vulnerable throughout the story (most of the time) with recalling the past, mini- update-interviews with past acquaintances (which were great) and coming of age revelations.

I enjoyed the book, found myself cracking up at her dry humor and some of the references of growing up in the 90's. Overall I'd recommend the book, just don't take everything literal or too serious. it is her story.
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