Cringe: Teenage Diaries, Journals, Notes, Letters, Poems, and Abandoned Rock Operas
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.