Wild Past Of CNN Anchor, Jersey Shore Native Detailed In New Book

CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota was growing up on the Jersey Shore when she started following her a local punk rock band, spending her nights at iconic clubs like CBGB and Max's Kansas City.

Alisyn Camerota

Alisyn Camerota

Photo Credit: Mike Cohen

Camerota, who grew up in Shrewsbury, is out with a new book "Combat Love," which explores her tumultuous teenage years and her then-strained relationship with her mother. She will be hosting a book signing at Books and Greetings in Northvale on Sunday, May 5 and has upcoming events in Collingswood and in her hometown.

Growing up in Monmouth County in the 80s meant Camerota was surrounded by great music. She was drawn to the punk band Shrapnel, who were also from Shrewsbury.

"These guys were from my hometown," Camerota told Daily Voice. "They were the older brothers of some of my best friends. They were hometown musical heroes. We were all proud of them."

While she was discovering Shrapnel, Camerota had a difficult home life. Her parents were divorced and her mom was going back to school, leaving her alone and she began spending a lot of time with her friends and following the band around New York City.

In writing the memoir, Camerota admits it would be fun to tell a story that doesn't seem typical for a polished news anchor. 

"People think I had a pretty easy well coifed life," Camerota said. "I don't think it's that helpful in these times we're living in for people to think it's been a cakewalk. It was hard. I struggled, I had lots of despair. I had a lot of moments not knowing if I would be able to achieve these dreams. I dealt with depression."

Camerota said her mom was part of the Silent Generation and thus was stoic through pain, not wanting to talk about her feelings, and she initially didn't want Camerota to write the book. Camerota said she eventually came around, filling her in on family secrets that often left a dark cloud over the household.

"Now we go to book events together," Camerota said. "She's become a champion of mine."

The mother of 19-year-old twin daughters, Camerota said we have done this generation a disservice with helicopter parenting.

"We are crippling them by bubble wrapping them," Camerota said. "You have them on a GPS at all times. I am proud of the moments in my teenage life. I had to fend for myself. It equipped me to be self sufficient and helped me in my journalism career. I've tried to let them have more freedom, it's really hard in this constant monitoring era. I've encouraged them to go into the city. I've encouraged them to have adventures. I'm all for it."

A proud Garden Stater, Camerota said she loves going back to the Jersey Shore and reconnecting with friends. She said she gets excited whenever she goes through the Lincoln Tunnel.

"I am the first person through the door at high school reunions," Camerota said. "I can't wait to see everyone and relive high school memories. I go back as much as I can."

Camerota also said she still keeps in touch with Shrapnel and enjoyed reconnecting with them when writing her book.

"It's a true joy for me," Camerota said. "They were the coolest guys and they still are the coolest guys. I am so tickled to have them in my life."

For any teenager going through tough times, Camerota said she wants them to know that it's normal. 

"I don't think I knew that when I was growing up," Camerota said. "Anxiety, depression, fear, panic, it's the stuff of life, it's part of being a teenager. Life is anxiety provoking, being a teenager is nerve-wracking, you don't know the future. Bouts of sadness and anxiety, that's growth. It's a rite of passage. Get help, reach out to people. Don't beat yourself up. It's perfectly normal." 

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