Oh… Young romance. We all remember those days. Standing by your locker with sweaty palms, waiting for your crush (who you’re sure doesn’t know you exist) walk by. Staring at the back of their head in class and trying to work up the nerve to say something to them. Then if they looked your way or smiled at you, rushing home to feverishly write it down in your journal to remember forever and ever. Ahhh… The Age of Embarrassment.
This feeling of adolescent romantic disaster is what David Nadelburg captures in Mortified: Love is a Battlefield. His book contains a couple dozen stories of teen love gone awry, from the extremely naive (think a crush on Leonard Nimoy–aka Spock) to the extremely awkward (white kid death metal love ballads). Yeah. It’s that kind of book.
To be honest I can’t say I really enjoyed this collection as much as I thought I would. I thought it was going to be gut-busting, pee-my-pants funny, because I know what kind of shenanigans my friends and I got into as love-struck teenagers. And how many times we (meaning I) got horribly shot down. I didn’t think it was that great.
I liked how the book utilized actual excerpts from the authors’ diaries, including drawings and handwriting, but none of the stories were that unbelievable. (I never shouted OMG! while reading, or even shook my head, so nothing was that crazy.) I would’ve liked there to have been more commentary about the entries from the adults who wrote them, because there was barely any. I was perpetually left wondering, well what the hell happened with that? We never saw the ending of some of these events and I felt cheated for getting invested in the first place.
Also, all the author bios were at the back of the book in a short of index, and by the time I had finished reading Mortified (which took a few hours tops) I couldn’t remember who wrote what, and I didn’t care enough to flip back through and find out.
All in all, you’re better off going through your own adolescent diary if you want to feel some embarrassment by proxy. I can’t believe I did that!
2 of 5 stars