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Arts and Entertainment

LAist Loves Mortified -- The Book

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Teenage angst has become a cottage industry, thanks to David Nadelberg. The LA-based writer, editor and "angstologist" created the stage show Mortified in 2002, where people read/perform entries from the pages of their old diaries, letters, songs, poems and notes in front of an audience. Growing in popularity like a jock in high school, the show has reached other cities besides LA -- Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and New York -- as well as the NPR airwaves.

But now the angst-filed journey has come full circle. Nadelberg has collected and edited a sampling of material for the book Mortified: Real Words. Real People. Real Pathetic. And it's sheer comic genius -- because everyone (and we mean everyone) can relate to these stories. These are the journal entries that were never meant to see the light of day, but we're so glad they did. This collection satisfies the little voyeur in all of us.

The entries are introduced by the adult authors, giving context to the story and characters involved. In one of our favorites, Sara Barron says that she was 12 years old when she wrote a 40-plus page story that she likes to call "The Porn." She wrote this "epic dirty story" as a way of trying to help her navigate puberty. The lead character Jenny Wilkinson (who, the young Sara determined, would be played by Christie Brinkley) spent "forty-plus pages wandering around her suburban town getting humped by varying high school boys."

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In another story, "Rewriting Romance," Alexa Alemanni says that she had a massive crush (read: obessed) on this boy Sam she met at musical theater camp when she was 14. He played the clarinet. They stayed up the whole last night of camp talking -- but nothing ever happened. Then he went back to Milwaukee and she to Denver. And her massive letter-writing campaign to win Sam's heart began. This is letter one, as presented in the book:

Dear Sam,
I was sitting at the bus stop in Denver and there was a man across the street...or maybe across a time zone...playing the clarinet. Coincidence? I think not.

And Alexa's letters get better and better.

Mortified the book is worth the read. It's a journey down memory lane for most of us. And it's a lot funnier now then when we were depressed teenagers wearing a lot of black and listening to too much Morrisey.

Nadelberg will be at Vroman's in Pasadena on Sunday at 4 p.m. for a Mortified book signing. There's a live show on Monday at King King, but unfortunately it's already sold out. Check out for more information on other upcoming live shows.

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