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Cringe: Teenage Diaries, Journals, Notes, Letters, Poems, and Abandoned Rock Operas Hardcover – August 26, 2008
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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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
SARAH BROWN is a writer, a well-known blogger, and the founder and host of Cringe, the monthly reading series held in New York.
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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.
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!