LAist Book Review: Mortified's Love Is a Battlefield

Scott Lifton reads from his teenage diary about a brief romance at a Mortified show in LA last summerWe've all been through our share of love-related misery, but probably most of us can look back on our teen years as the most horrific of them all, from unrequited love, tumultuous off-and-on romances, first times, moral dilemmas, and passionate moments amplified by the pure drama of adolescence.

This is precisely what the folks from Mortified bring to their readers in their second book, Love is a Battlefield, assembled by Mortified guru and editor David Nadelberg. And they go right to the source: Real diaries from real people about real matters of the heart.

LAist loves the first tome of pure angst, and loves going to see the readings live here in LA, so it's no surprise that we heart the love-themed volume that hit shelves earlier this month—yes, just in time for Valentine's Day.

The book offers a broad sampling of bad poetry and hair-band wannabe lyrics, notebook doodles, compulsive calendar chronicles, love letters (to Leonard Nimoy!) along with the delicious brand of wisdom proffered only by those who are anything but world-wise—but who think they are.

First kisses, first crushes, first journeys to the dark side of "going all the way" and first loves fill the pages of Love is a Battlefield, which will make you feel both a kinship for your fellow soldier in past adolescent-angst, and a pinch of relief that those cringe-worthy days are (or should be!) behind you. It's a great book to leave on the bedside table, either to comfort you in your lovelorn moments, or to laugh out loud and share with your special someone.

For example, Liz Black has telenovela dreams don't see the light of day on a summer retreat in Nicaragua, but everyone else gets some action: "Colleen is now Jose's novia. It's so sick [...] I think these Nicaraguans should set some standards for themselves. Yikes."

Meanwhile, Jennifer Anthony can't even talk to her boyfriend, let alone get to second base, so a frantic note-passing session replaces potential heavy petting, complete with rules: "Rule #3--Never get physical on the first date (includes kissing, shaking hands)." And Kate Augustine proves why she was the go-to girl for head-giving how-to guides in her rural Ohio high school: "PS--I found out there really isn't a 'wrong' way, unless you use your teeth! PPS--A LITTLE teeth are OK."

Of course, nothing beats seeing the diaries read aloud, which really brings the tension and humor of romantic foibles to life. The book contains the hilarious telling of Scott Lifton's first boyfriend-girlfriend relationship with the hot and cold Missy, which I got to see read in person at a Mortified show last June (pictured). Lifton really cuts to the core of the joy and pain that is dating:

I asked Missy out and she said yes. Well let's recap. She came home with me on the bus. We walked the dog and wrestled and stuff. My mom came home and made us English muffin pizzas as we watched Heathers. Both of us were lying on one couch hugging. I think I should sleep now. I feel kinda sick. Maybe it's Love.
Ain't love grand?

Mortified has a Doomed Valentine's Show this week featuring an angst-filled night of teen love gone wrong and a very special awkward 80's Prom featuring the dork-tastic retro covers of "The Mortified After School Orchestra" after the show.

Mortified's Doomed Valentine's Show
Thursday, February 14, 8:00 p.m. // King King // 6555 Hollywood Blvd., 90028 // $15 adv; $20 door (Tickets available online or by phone: 877-238-5596) // 21+ only!!!

Photo from Mortified in LA, June 2007 by Lindsay William-Ross/LAist