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

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  358 ratings  ·  98 reviews
Inspired by the highly publicized monthly diary reading series in New York, Cringe is a kitschy, gut-spilling saga of adolescent angst. Full-color photos & illustrations throughout. ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 15th 2008 by Crown Archetype
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Average rating 3.62  · 
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 ·  358 ratings  ·  98 reviews

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Sep 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Children of the 1980's, Grandparents of the 2040's.
A very thorough review of Cringe, edited by Sarah Brown.

INSIDE COVER (ENDPAPERS): Over the past two weeks, I've read the inside cover about ten times now. It's a daily log of outfits worn by a teenager to school. I've read this ten times because I like the way this list makes me feel, so I have trouble progressing past this point. I, too, am a keeper of pointless records and logs. God knows I'll be referring to those lists when I'm 80 years-old way more than the snarky text I wrote in my youth.
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Recommends it for: people who were teenagers
It seems ridiculous to do this, but equally ridiculous not to, so, you know.
Aug 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: You! All your friends. Their parents, too.
I haven't even started reading it yet. But I'm giving it 5 stars because it looks and feels good in my hands. Also, check out that author photo. What lovely hair!

Update: I'm probably biased, but pages 76-77 are easily the best pages in the book (so far).

Update 2: Holy shit. I just read Tracie Masek's contribution while getting a pedicure and I laughed so hard that I may have to revise my earlier statement.
Sep 08, 2008 rated it liked it
My embarrassing teen writing:

“Dear Corey,
I know we are so totally in love. This feels so amazing, doesn’t it? I was wondering if you would like to kiss me, a lot. I know I love you and I am so happy that you love me too. What’s your favorite gum?
Love, Emily Davis”

Here’s the backstory:
First of all, my name was actually Emily MAXWELL, but Corey’s last name was Davis. But since we were getting married, I figured I’d just start using his last name.

In 7th grade, I was at lunch one day and a guy nam
May 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
"Many people ask why there seems to be such a wave of teenage reflection and recollection lately. Our society definitely likes to fetishize teenagers, and geek culture is no longer on the fringes. We who have grown up with MTV are accustomed on some level to having our lives recorded for us and played back for our own amusement. But Cringe is more than self-absorption or nostalgia. It's natural to look back, to wonder who you were then. Surprise: pretty much who you are now, especially when thin ...more
May 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
Now, I know that the contributors in Cringe submitted their own diary entries (and not someone else's), and I guess they were supposed to be mocking themselves, but really, the whole thing came off as "Let's Laugh at Teenagers". It seemed that most contributors in the book were hell-bent on dismissing past experiences and emotions. Some of the diary entries were so heart-breaking, I just couldn't bring myself to make fun of them. Sometimes it seemed that these teens were crying out for help.
Sarah Brown hosts this reading series by the same name (Cringe) in New York. Basically, people who’ve made it out of their adolescence (people in their late 20s, 30s, 40s) come in and read from their teenage diaries (etc.) all of the embarrassing and horrible and wishful and dramatic things that they wrote at that age. This is a collection of the same. If this is the kind of stuff you were dead serious about as a teen, it’s sure to make you cringe now. But some of it is really hysterical. If you ...more
Sep 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Oh wow, "cringe" is right. This book is hilarious. It is a collection of diary entires, bad poetry, unsent love letters, etc. that people have submitted and then commented on. Anyone who has ever kept a diary can certainly identify with the embarassment of coming face-to-face with your narcissistic teenage self. Ouch. I read this book in one sitting and laughed out loud a million times. Oh the drama! Oh the heartache! Oh the angst! I particularly enjoyed reading what people had to say as adults ...more
Feb 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Wow. Just let the title speak for itself, and you can instantly reminisce about your own cringeworthy moments as a teenager. Oh the horror I would find if my mom hadn't thrown away (read: burned) the boxes of diaries, journals, chain letters, MASH games, angst-ridden music lyrics (poetry was just too lame), letters to girls I hated, letters to boys I crushed on (and obviously never sent) and the pages of paper with the names of the boys at school (or on TV) I had crushes on. You know what I mean ...more
Jan 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Elisabeth by: Mayur Subbarao
Thanks to the friend who gifted me this book, I was able to laugh not only through all the essays in it but through recollections of my own spiral-bound notebooks scribbled with entries that reeked of emotion and angst. Why was it I always had to be in the midst of a crisis, or traveling, to take pen to paper - or should I be grateful I was only ever in the midst of such to take pen to paper?! No rock operas in my lot, but otherwise, this trove is entertaining.
Feb 01, 2009 added it
For anyone who kept a journal in their teenage years - READ THIS BOOK! It's the most hysterical piece of voyeuristic teenage misery out there. Well...aside from digging up your old journals from adolescence. Which I promptly did as soon as I was done with this book. Trust me, if you think you weren't this self-loathing, I urge you to dig through your parent's garage for old letters about ((enter name here)) who didn't love you as much as you loved them.
Dec 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE! Although, not appropriate for kids.
Recommended to Amy by: kitty joe
Shelves: non-fiction
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was an easy read that brought lots of smiles and laughter...sometimes I burst out laughing and had people staring at me like I'm a looney-bin! My sister has a couple of her journal entries included, it was so cool to see her name in print. Since I know her writing I found numerous other 'nameless' snippets, an enjoyable bonus. I definitely recommend this book!
Jan 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Every person who ever kept a diary, or still keeps one... or anyone who still has a little angsty teen living inside needs to read this book and keep it in their collection.

It made me want to break out the stacks of notebooks I had in high school and laugh at them.

I will buy this book, I will keep it safe and break it out the first time Izze tells me she hates me.
Feb 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life. It has strengthened my resolve to be kinder to midgets. It's a searing story set in a timeless period, with a cast of dozens. It is far better than my previous all-time favorite, the penetrating autobiography _Vanna Speaks._ Highly recommended.
Dec 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
I picked this up because it was much like the Post Secret type book and the voyeur in me was interested. Little did I know how much it would make me laugh because I WAS that teenaged girl journaling...
Jan 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
I got this as a birthday present from my best friend throughout junior high and high school. Very hilarious, in that hits-too-close-to-home sort of way. I'm so grateful to the fine people willing to expose the remnants of their teenage angst for my amusement. I am not that brave.
Oct 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2009
What could be better than reading pieces of teenage diaries? This book too me back, made me laugh and yes, definitely had me cringing with every page. It also inspired me to pull out my old diaries -- those from the 'real years': 1987-1995! Oh glory be!
Feb 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bbcs-books
I usually glaze over when people post excerpts from their teenage diaries online so I wasn't sure I was going to love this book, but it turns out I did! The commentary by the grown-up diary writers and the author's chapter introductions really made it. A quick read, definitely worth checking out.
May 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Like you are reading someone's personal diary. I could not put it down! Check out her blog: Que Sera Sera.
Aug 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
It's funny! Also I'm in it! Go buy one or four.
Aug 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
More of a stab at being a teen than a sympathetic nod to being a teen. The back cover says “You are a teenager. You are the first person to ever have a feeling and a pen” and the “Afterthought” says “If there’s one thing that this experience has taught me, it’s that I have zero patience for teenagers” (2008, p. 228). With compassion (HEAVY sarcasm) like that, can’t you just see a teen leaping at this book?! There is a complete lack of tact and no attempt to shield identities of the teens' storie ...more
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Not sure I completely agree with Brown's pessimistic view on teenager journaling. I do know that I would cringe at some of the things I journaled in the past. I found this a creative book and a great concept.
Suze Price
Oct 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
I started out liking it, then it got crude. Not my type of reading material
Adam O'Rourke
Much better read out live at one of their events rather than read from a book.
Mar 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-books
Some of these entries were cringe-worthy, but I think others would fall into the you-had-to-be-there category.
Giddy Girlie
Jul 29, 2013 rated it liked it
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 s ...more
Jul 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
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: "What
Rachael Quinn
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I found this book sitting on a display of "I Can't Believe It's Nonfiction!" books. I had never heard of it before and I had to snatch it up right away. I've kept a journal pretty solidly since I was 14, sometimes writing multiple times in a day, lining the edges of the page with angsty lyrics, and copying in some of my "best" poems. Now that I am the ripe old age of 31, it's kind of funny to go back and see what I had to say when I was in high school. There was a lot of drama, a lot of scandal, ...more
Apr 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: high school and up
Shelves: nonfiction
Oh, my. I laughed out loud several times while flipping through this. I don't think my teen years were quite as angsty as some of these teens' journal entries, but I can still sympathize with the extreme, earth-shattering importance of EVERYTHING. Some of the writings, while hard to decipher, were side-splittingly funny (and painful), as were the author's comments:

"Teenage love isn't so much about happiness; it's about longing and plotting and heartbreak and revenge. It's about reading monumenta
rené lauren
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
I'm all for a book that pokes fun at the 'tragedy' of the teenage years. Lord knows I wish I could tell every teenager, my past self included, to shut up with the drama of it all. Reading this collection of writings from former teenagers and remembering my own life fails at this time was amusing and embarrassing. Reading this also reminded me why I don't like most teenagers and why I don't look back on those years of my own life very fondly.

The reason I gave it so few stars was that that referen
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