Cringe: Inside the Teenage Mind

A look at 'Cringe,' a compilation of teenage diaries, journals, notes, letters, poems, etc.

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Teenage diaries, journals, notes, letters, poems, and abandoned rock operas

-Stephanie Elliot

Cringe novelWhen I lifted my copy (not lifted it in the sense of STEALING IT! – but when I physically picked it up), the sheer weight of the book suggested there are secrets to be revealed in Cringe!

And secrets there are!

It’s heavy in both senses of the word.

Cringe is what you do when you find your old journals, open them up and discover the passages you wrote about the angst over the boy who deemed you non-existent. The turmoil of finding out your best friend is also in love with THAT SAME BOY but he knows SHE EXISTS! And the fact that he knows she exists AND she has boobs!

What better way to get that angst out than to share it in the pages of your childhood journal?

Cringe is the compilation of “teenage diaries, journals, notes, letters, poems, and abandoned rock operas” edited by Sarah Brown who is also the founder and host of the monthly reading series by the same name, which is held in New York.

Can you IMAGINE reading your worst diary entry in front of a crowd in a bar? How cool would THAT be?

Sarah took the best of the worst, along with some famed contributors like Heather B. Armstrong of the blog Dooce, and compiled them into this awesome book that’ll have you nodding in agreement page after page, thinking, “OMG, I was sooo that person!”

Totally relatable chapters for any teenage-journal writer include:

“You Ruined the Whole Family: Parents”

“I’m Having Some Feelings: Melodrama”

“I Don’t Like You: Love”

“No One Wants Your Gifts or Talents: The Creative Writer”

Go out and get yourself a copy of Cringe and read these brave souls’ tragic and angst-y moments. You’ll love it! The book includes original graphics from the journals and photos of the writers, and actual replicated pages from their handwritten books.

You’ll feel their anxiousness, despair, excitement, TEENAGE-NESS in their handwritten words.

And after reading Cringe, you may be inspired to dig through those attic boxes to find your old journals to relive your own Oh-No-I-Didn’t-worthy moments.

Or not.

Visit Sarah Brown at

Stephanie Elliot writes as Manic Mommy at Visit her at

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