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Misfits: A Personal Manifesto

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A powerful manifesto on how speaking your truth and owning your differences can transform your life. In this sensational agenda-setting début, Michaela Coel, BAFTA-winning actor and writer of breakout series I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum, makes a compelling case for radical honesty. Drawing on her unflinching Edinburgh Festival MacTaggart lecture, Misfits recounts deeply A powerful manifesto on how speaking your truth and owning your differences can transform your life. In this sensational agenda-setting début, Michaela Coel, BAFTA-winning actor and writer of breakout series I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum, makes a compelling case for radical honesty. Drawing on her unflinching Edinburgh Festival MacTaggart lecture, Misfits recounts deeply personal anecdotes from Coel’s life and work to argue for greater transparency. With insight and wit, it lays bare her journey to reclaiming her creativity and power, inviting readers to reflect on theirs. Advocating for ‘misfits’ everywhere, this timely, necessary book is a rousing and bold case against fitting in.


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A powerful manifesto on how speaking your truth and owning your differences can transform your life. In this sensational agenda-setting début, Michaela Coel, BAFTA-winning actor and writer of breakout series I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum, makes a compelling case for radical honesty. Drawing on her unflinching Edinburgh Festival MacTaggart lecture, Misfits recounts deeply A powerful manifesto on how speaking your truth and owning your differences can transform your life. In this sensational agenda-setting début, Michaela Coel, BAFTA-winning actor and writer of breakout series I May Destroy You and Chewing Gum, makes a compelling case for radical honesty. Drawing on her unflinching Edinburgh Festival MacTaggart lecture, Misfits recounts deeply personal anecdotes from Coel’s life and work to argue for greater transparency. With insight and wit, it lays bare her journey to reclaiming her creativity and power, inviting readers to reflect on theirs. Advocating for ‘misfits’ everywhere, this timely, necessary book is a rousing and bold case against fitting in.

30 review for Misfits: A Personal Manifesto

  1. 5 out of 5

    luce

    | | blog | tumblr | ko-fi | | 3 ½ stars “Speaking can be a terrifying action. Our words—even when spoken from a position so powerless that all that’s produced is a moth-like squeak—can be loud enough to wake the house: a house that is often sleeping peacefully and does not want to be disturbed; a house in which perhaps you’ve found a home. I’m very much in awe of Michaela Coel. While I liked Chewing Gum well enough, I May Destroy You blew my mind. It made me cry, it made me laugh, it gave me f | | blog | tumblr | ko-fi | | 3 ½ stars “Speaking can be a terrifying action. Our words—even when spoken from a position so powerless that all that’s produced is a moth-like squeak—can be loud enough to wake the house: a house that is often sleeping peacefully and does not want to be disturbed; a house in which perhaps you’ve found a home. I’m very much in awe of Michaela Coel. While I liked Chewing Gum well enough, I May Destroy You blew my mind. It made me cry, it made me laugh, it gave me friggin goosebumps. If you haven’t watched it, do yourself a favour, and do it ASAP. I would recommend Misfits to those who haven’t watched Coel's MacTaggart Lecture. That talk, transcribed here in Misfits, is powerful indeed. Honest and incisive, this talk is definitely a must-listen/read. Coel recounts growing up Black in London, from the racism she experienced at school (from both the students and the staff) to her time at drama school. She describes a few specific episodes that highlight her love for theatre and creativity. Coel also discusses how racist, sexist, and toxic the filming industry is. Later on, Coel also speaks of being sexually assaulted, and while she doesn’t go into too much detail, this part is particularly brutal. Additionally, Coel expands on her idea of being a misfit and exploring notions of belonging and identity. As much as I loved Coel's words, I’m not entirely sure why her talk was published as a book. The talk is sandwiched between two short new pieces, the first one preceding said talk where she writes about having anosmia, moths, and recalls a peculiar dream she had some years ago (it felt a bit disjointed). The latter bit is a short afterword. I would have probably appreciated this release more if it had included some more essays by Coel but I nevertheless was grateful to re-experience her lecture. ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sammie Anne Cunningham

    I will come back and review this properly when I have the time to pick myself up off the floor because damn

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    Misfits is exactly my type of book; a book for those who understand, celebrate and value individuality over conformity and a fantastic and much-needed, agenda-setting literary debut. Inspired by her acclaimed and unflinching Edinburgh TV Festival MacTaggert Lecture in 2018 in front of an audience 4,000 strong, Michaela Coel’s passionately argued and devastatingly articulate manifesto for greater transparency and radical honesty is a clarion call for speaking truth to power. In just one of the qu Misfits is exactly my type of book; a book for those who understand, celebrate and value individuality over conformity and a fantastic and much-needed, agenda-setting literary debut. Inspired by her acclaimed and unflinching Edinburgh TV Festival MacTaggert Lecture in 2018 in front of an audience 4,000 strong, Michaela Coel’s passionately argued and devastatingly articulate manifesto for greater transparency and radical honesty is a clarion call for speaking truth to power. In just one of the quotes within it, she states: "What carried me through [secondary school] was the abundance of black girls, white girls, mixed girls—misfits. My friends were all misfits—a huge gang of commercially unattractive, beautiful misfits, who found the mainstream world unattractive". There is no doubt a lot of us can relate to this sentiment; I know I certainly can. Misfits look at life differently. But many are also seen as outsiders because life looks at them differently. Michaela Coel has felt like an outsider all her life. Because that's how life looked at her. Misfits is a triumphant call for honesty, empathy and inclusion from all who are "different". With spunk and humour, Coel tells about her struggle to be herself in a world that demands the opposite. This topical, necessary book, laced with deeply personal anecdotes, advocates for outsiders. Within these pages, she recounts stories from both life and work which are utilised to argue for greater transparency, and with insight and wit, it lays bare her journey to reclaiming her creativity and power, inviting readers to reflect on theirs. It is a sharp and rousing argument not to try to fit in. This is a powerful and sensational manifesto on how speaking your truth and owning your differences can transform your life. By turns inquisitive, devastating, beautiful and hilarious, Michaela’s storytelling forever urges us to think again. Her fiercely empowering and inspirational debut draws on the same kaleidoscope of ideas and emotions as her hit TV shows and will inspire readers to reflect on their own relationship to power. Highly recommended.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tiernan

    I love her so much...wish this was a full memoir!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ameema S.

    CW: Racism, The “N-word”, Sexual Assault A short, but phenomenal read - Misfits is thoughtful, smart, seating, and unputdownable. Michaela Coel is wicked smart and has an incredible way of putting words together into compelling stories. Misfits is adapted from a speech Coel performed at an event for industry professionals, and this hour long speech was incredible. I tore through this book, soaking up every single world, itching for more. I don’t say this lightly, but Michaela Coel is one of this CW: Racism, The “N-word”, Sexual Assault A short, but phenomenal read - Misfits is thoughtful, smart, seating, and unputdownable. Michaela Coel is wicked smart and has an incredible way of putting words together into compelling stories. Misfits is adapted from a speech Coel performed at an event for industry professionals, and this hour long speech was incredible. I tore through this book, soaking up every single world, itching for more. I don’t say this lightly, but Michaela Coel is one of this generations most incredible voices, and experiencing her art, her writing, her storytelling feels like a gift. I am blown away by the care, thought and power put into every word, and every story.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Esperance A Mulonda

    Honestly, if you've seen Chewing Gum or I may destroy you, there's nothing here. I would have hated the book if it was longer but since it was a light read, I don't care as much. I just expected more , like maybe a bunch of essays or short stories that her I May Destroy You main character might write. Honestly, if you've seen Chewing Gum or I may destroy you, there's nothing here. I would have hated the book if it was longer but since it was a light read, I don't care as much. I just expected more , like maybe a bunch of essays or short stories that her I May Destroy You main character might write.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michelle (bookishinthebay)

    I’m not the only one who is fucking floored by Michaela Coel right? ‘I May Destroy You’ is one of the most heartbreaking yet beautiful pieces of ART I have seen in a very long time. You say Michaela Coel, I say gimme. Based on her lecture at the Edinburgh Festival MacTaggert lecture of 2018, Coel brings us into her world growing up, deciding to become an actor, and then subsequently writing a play that would later become the ‘Chewing Gum’ series. If you have seen IMDY, you know it is loosely based I’m not the only one who is fucking floored by Michaela Coel right? ‘I May Destroy You’ is one of the most heartbreaking yet beautiful pieces of ART I have seen in a very long time. You say Michaela Coel, I say gimme. Based on her lecture at the Edinburgh Festival MacTaggert lecture of 2018, Coel brings us into her world growing up, deciding to become an actor, and then subsequently writing a play that would later become the ‘Chewing Gum’ series. If you have seen IMDY, you know it is loosely based on her and her sexual assault, which she also discusses in this book, along with her struggles as being “different” but paving her own way. Ultimately, this speech is about finding your truth and speaking it. If you’ve got an hour - as this is very short - I highly, highly recommend you pick this up. “The term “misfits” takes on dual notions; a misfit is one who looks at life differently. Many, however, are made into misfits because life looks at them differently…” “For creatives, there is a beauty in carving your own story, conceiving it, at least once, alone, then allowing others to assist in nurturing and maturing it. Particularly for unheard voices, the voices denied, or for those who, given the opportunity to speak, find themselves surrendering to immediate interruption: Is co-writing immediate interruption? What would my scripts have been had they been interfered with at such an embryonic stage?” “I learned that staying silent for fear of losing safety doesn’t compare to the feeling of safety I found within myself from choosing to be fearless in my curiosity to question the house, to question the very identity of the house, and from choosing to question myself.”

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lais Atilano

    Since listening to an interview by Louis Theroux on his ‘Grounded’ podcast I’ve became fascinated with Michaela’s mind: how she’s able to question things without being sanctimonious; being open enough to create a much needed dialogue about tricky issues, and humble enough to be always willing to learn. This comes across in her debut book, Misfits. The main body of the book is a lecture Coel has delivered to professionals within the television industry: not so much a call-out, but an invitation, Since listening to an interview by Louis Theroux on his ‘Grounded’ podcast I’ve became fascinated with Michaela’s mind: how she’s able to question things without being sanctimonious; being open enough to create a much needed dialogue about tricky issues, and humble enough to be always willing to learn. This comes across in her debut book, Misfits. The main body of the book is a lecture Coel has delivered to professionals within the television industry: not so much a call-out, but an invitation, a plea for transparency within the industry, aptly bookended by an introduction and epilogue in which she examines her own reluctance to deal with conflict and trauma head on. This is a very short book that can be read in just over one hour. Still, its message and use of metaphor are powerful enough to provide food for thought long after the last page has been turned, and hopefully, an honest examination about our own attitudes towards others–even (and perhaps, especially) if they’re ‘just the way things are.’ The only issue I have with this book is from a design perspective. The fluidity of Michaela’s writing is often interrupted by intrusive quotes of lines from her manifesto, every couple of pages, as if I hadn’t just read them myself, in what seems like a desperate attempt for social media shareability. Please allow your readers to decide for themselves which parts of the text resonate with them, instead of force-feeding them in this patronising manner.

  9. 4 out of 5

    pugs

    if nothing else, 'misfits' solidifies my belief in coel being the best screenwriter of our (i.e. millenial) generation. and after reading it, i think that prefix, or even limiting her to a writer at all is understated, rather, she is best seen as an all encompassing creative. 'misfits' revolves around the creation, and reading, of her mactaggart lecture, she exposes the negatives and positives of the whole creative world and intersecting with society. her career trajectory thus far has been one if nothing else, 'misfits' solidifies my belief in coel being the best screenwriter of our (i.e. millenial) generation. and after reading it, i think that prefix, or even limiting her to a writer at all is understated, rather, she is best seen as an all encompassing creative. 'misfits' revolves around the creation, and reading, of her mactaggart lecture, she exposes the negatives and positives of the whole creative world and intersecting with society. her career trajectory thus far has been one of keeping her integrity, not just as an artist, but as a good person. wise, introspective, oh so funny, but thoughtful and sincere when needed, this feels like a one woman show (makes sense given her theater background). i'm admittedly biased, and if you are also a fan of her work, 'misfits' is a must-read, but this book should interest a much wider audience who hasn't heard of her (yet) as well, and deserves space as a relevant, critical piece in media studies.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Frances Thompson

    Devoured it in one sitting. Have already watched Coel's MacTaggart lecture multiple times but there was something special about reading it in this format and having a little insight into how the speech came to be. Also, I have despised moths all my life - they are one of few creatures that scare me - but now I think about them very differently. That's the power of good storytelling and Michaela Coel. Devoured it in one sitting. Have already watched Coel's MacTaggart lecture multiple times but there was something special about reading it in this format and having a little insight into how the speech came to be. Also, I have despised moths all my life - they are one of few creatures that scare me - but now I think about them very differently. That's the power of good storytelling and Michaela Coel.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Hollen

    4.5 stars

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Alpaugh

    Michaela Coel is one of our smartest thinkers and I’m grateful for her perspective

  13. 5 out of 5

    Peter Baran

    This book fits much more within the Penguin small ideas books than anything bigger and Michaela Coel knows that with her intro and afterword basically admitting it. Equally what is being said here is timely and important, delivered in the kind of amusingly raw fashion that she happily deconstructs constantly. The central text is the McTaggart Lecture that Coel delivered at the 2018 Edinburgh Television Festival, though in here you also see the roots of I May Destroy You. As a lecture its well-st This book fits much more within the Penguin small ideas books than anything bigger and Michaela Coel knows that with her intro and afterword basically admitting it. Equally what is being said here is timely and important, delivered in the kind of amusingly raw fashion that she happily deconstructs constantly. The central text is the McTaggart Lecture that Coel delivered at the 2018 Edinburgh Television Festival, though in here you also see the roots of I May Destroy You. As a lecture its well-structured and as Coel says she’s a storyteller. The story she tells starts off inspirational and then spirals as the low level reality of racism but also just penny pinching resistance in the TV industry hits and then she drops the well publicised hit of her own rape. This is actual a very small part of the lecture, she is very careful about the framing and has since revisited the story but even in this context its powerful. Misfits (a word she chooses to define to make her point), is vital reading, not just for the text but also the continuing promise of her writing. The bookends here, which digress into quite poetic flights on moths and anosmia, don’t quite bulk it out but are worth reading in themselves. As in I May Destroy You, she isn’t content with platitudes or simple narratives, and she never wants to let herself off the hook. Here she has found some ways not to, whilst making a vital text about the responsibility you have when trying to bring in new voices to also support and nurture those voices.

  14. 5 out of 5

    chantel nouseforaname

    They used to say that Lena Dunham was the voice of a generation and that always felt like a lie to me. I hate when people say that about celebrities at the heights of their shows. Michaela Coel is the only time that that statement has ever felt applied correctly. This short manifesto was dope. It is a pull no punches wake up call to industry folks to think and not act a fucking fool when trying to work with people who they’ve typically held just outside of the doors. It’s a call to action to mat They used to say that Lena Dunham was the voice of a generation and that always felt like a lie to me. I hate when people say that about celebrities at the heights of their shows. Michaela Coel is the only time that that statement has ever felt applied correctly. This short manifesto was dope. It is a pull no punches wake up call to industry folks to think and not act a fucking fool when trying to work with people who they’ve typically held just outside of the doors. It’s a call to action to match the actions to the statements that many of the “forward-thinking” people in the entertainment industry claim to tout re: diversity and inclusion. I related to her stories and recollection of high school and the folks you meet there and the lack of care provided by teachers to younger students of color who rarely get the attention they deserve, no matter how talented, intelligent and luminous they are. It is also an intense reminder to young Black creators to keep going. Fuck if anyone else doesn’t believe in your dream, or can’t see the value in your story. Your story is valuable, there are people who relate to it and it is and can be transformative, so give it your all and put it out there into the world. I love the way her mind works. This work is the result of a popular lecture that she gave in relation to being a young legend in the making and it was a pleasure to read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Short volume containing a speech Michaela Cole gave at an event for television writers with an introduction and epilogue. I listened to the audiobook since it was read by her, and it was only around an hour and a half. I’m a HUGE fan of her and her shows Chewing Gum and I May Destroy You, and the experience of writing and filming the latter played a large role in this story. She’s trying to explain what it is like to not quite fit to a room of people who do, and it is very moving. I’m grateful w Short volume containing a speech Michaela Cole gave at an event for television writers with an introduction and epilogue. I listened to the audiobook since it was read by her, and it was only around an hour and a half. I’m a HUGE fan of her and her shows Chewing Gum and I May Destroy You, and the experience of writing and filming the latter played a large role in this story. She’s trying to explain what it is like to not quite fit to a room of people who do, and it is very moving. I’m grateful we get to hear her creative voice and can’t wait to see what she does next. This was a perfect quick listen from the library.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Oma

    the opposite of “great gowns, beautiful gowns” in that whoever designed the book (well, ebook) and pulled the pull-quotes just chose the most inane selections but still nothing could ever dull her shine. YouTube “Michaela Coel James MacTaggart Lecture” while you still can, if you’d rather hear it than read it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    S'good. Quick read. Manifesto on misfits and transparency and the power of voice and standing your ground on your work. S'good. Quick read. Manifesto on misfits and transparency and the power of voice and standing your ground on your work.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Uttara

    Michaela coel was put on this god given earth to write. Im constantly inspired by how she can convey so much in her words. One of the best writers of our generation.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Renée

    Crisp and punchy—episodic and evocative—truly a gorgeous testament to the invisible struggles of people navigating a system that pays lip service to including them but does no such thing

  20. 4 out of 5

    Madison

    I just want the world for her. Michaela Coel has created a world where for the first time, I see myself and my community on screen and in fiction. In this place, there is working class joy and triumph. I'm proud of my roots and I'm proud to see someone from the endz make it. Thank you for existing, Michaela. I just want the world for her. Michaela Coel has created a world where for the first time, I see myself and my community on screen and in fiction. In this place, there is working class joy and triumph. I'm proud of my roots and I'm proud to see someone from the endz make it. Thank you for existing, Michaela.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Viv

    As usual, Michaela writes with such empathy and understanding and self-reflection, not to mention succinctness, that I felt totally dumbstruck while reading it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Edel Green

    I absolutely love the work of Michaela Coel so was so excited to receive an ARC from Netgalley for her book Misfits: A Personal Manifesto. It is largely based around the content for her Edinburgh Festival MacTaggart lecture and is bookmarked by her thoughts and developments since that lecture. Coel’s background, career path, the obstacles she has faced and talent are completely fascinating. The overarching theme of Misfits is the need for transparency and embracing our differences and each other I absolutely love the work of Michaela Coel so was so excited to receive an ARC from Netgalley for her book Misfits: A Personal Manifesto. It is largely based around the content for her Edinburgh Festival MacTaggart lecture and is bookmarked by her thoughts and developments since that lecture. Coel’s background, career path, the obstacles she has faced and talent are completely fascinating. The overarching theme of Misfits is the need for transparency and embracing our differences and each other’s different experiences of life - this is backed up with what we have come to expect from Coel’s writing which is complete no-holds barred honesty. This is a short read - fans of her work will love it but it may not offer a huge amount of content that they are unfamiliar with. For those new to Coel’s writing, this is a great and fascinating introduction. Those who also work in the entertainment industry will also find it very helpful and will hugely appreciate the candid way she describes the pitfalls.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kibkabe

    *Read more book reviews like this on my blog shelit.com* Misfits by Michaela Coel is a smart quick read where the actress, screenwriter, and producer narrates her rise in entertainment by recognizing the people she classifies as misfits while also noticing how moths always seem to make an appearance on her journey. How many other potential artists with stories we want and need have we lost for the sake of financial profit; have we lost to thoughtless education systems, thoughtless nurturing, thou *Read more book reviews like this on my blog shelit.com* Misfits by Michaela Coel is a smart quick read where the actress, screenwriter, and producer narrates her rise in entertainment by recognizing the people she classifies as misfits while also noticing how moths always seem to make an appearance on her journey. How many other potential artists with stories we want and need have we lost for the sake of financial profit; have we lost to thoughtless education systems, thoughtless nurturing, thoughtlessness? Why are we platforming misfits, heralding them as newly rich successes while they balance on creaking ladders with little chance of social mobility? I can’t help usher them into this house if there are doors within it they can’t open. The hourlong book starts with Michaela ready to kill a moth interrupting an informal Stranger Things screening in her flat with her friends. Instinctively, she sprays moth killer. Once her friends gag at the odor, she realizes her sense of smell is gone. That same year in 2018, she’s invited to the MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival where she not only vocalizes her story but analyzes the elements that propelled her to unexpected stardom. The author intersects lepidopterology throughout the key moments that contribute to her career in entertainment from dropping out of college a few times to taking a chance on a virtually White theater school, then writing her own play and performing it, and seeing that play become her first TV show, Chewing Gum. The term “misfit” can be cross-generational and crosses concepts of gender or culture, simply by a desire for transparency, a desire to see another’s point of view. Misfits who visibly fit in will sometimes find themselves merging with the mainstream, for a feeling of safety. Race and class define the story. The daughter of an immigrant single mother, Michaela attends a youth theater for free. She’s the only Black girl there. As an adult, the lack of diversity remains the same at her theater school. But when she writes the play that becomes the U.K. Netflix series Chewing Gum, she realizes the pattern continues on the industry level where she had to make sure the majority Black cast received the same treatment as the White actors. During that show, she admits her business dealings weren’t clear to her. She eventually declines that newsworthy million-dollar offer from Netflix for her next show that evolves into HBO's I May Destroy You. While working long hours on her second show, a night out for a break becomes the impetus for the future award-winning series as she is accosted by a flashback that makes her realize she had been raped. It’s then she finds herself leaning on the misfits she met inside and outside the industry to help her in the healing process and the storytelling process. Overall, the personal manifesto highlights the author’s most meaningful memories describing where she is now and uses interesting symbolism from misfits to moths. Because of the length and substance, it’s a good choice for readers trying to stick to their annual reading goals or looking for something short and sweet.

  24. 4 out of 5

    milfandrewgarfield

    Ok, yes this book might be shorter than you expected (it is really a transcript of her hour long MacTaggart lecture, along with two shorter essays) BUT that's not what's important here. What is important is, in some unidentified year between 2015-2017, I saw a chilling instagram story posted by one Michaela Coel. This was in the time before the lecture, when she was actively posting on Instagram. In the video, Michaela Coel and a friend are out on a London street, Coel is extolling the necessity Ok, yes this book might be shorter than you expected (it is really a transcript of her hour long MacTaggart lecture, along with two shorter essays) BUT that's not what's important here. What is important is, in some unidentified year between 2015-2017, I saw a chilling instagram story posted by one Michaela Coel. This was in the time before the lecture, when she was actively posting on Instagram. In the video, Michaela Coel and a friend are out on a London street, Coel is extolling the necessity of protecting yourself as a young woman out alone, you never know who will prey on you. Mid video, Coel sees a woman, drunk and young, stumbling down the street when a man approaches her. This man attempts to get his arms around the woman and tries guiding her- to what end? Coel doesn't let it happen- she starts yelling at him, she and her friend, to let go of the woman. Do you know her? Where are you taking her? What are you doing!? Coel and her friend get the woman in their arms, they talk to her, ask her who she is, if she's ok. Coel is doing this, comforting this stranger, while at the same time encouraging anyone watching this story to look, bare witness. Recognize this. I can't say my recollection of this story is totally accurate, I do know I have the gist. I remember the videos being incredibly emotional, on her end and mine. I don't know what compelled Michaela Coel to post these instagram stories, I don't know what was she was going through at the time of posting. But I've never forgotten them. To me Michaela Coel is someone who never does things in parts, she commits fully. That scared me then and it scares me now. There's so much pain, sorrow, anger, and joy there, laid bare.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melinda

    I heard about this book and really, really wanted to like it. I really did. I got the audiobook version, read by the author. Her voice is grating and difficult to understand, and listening to her was tiring. Even more tiresome was her choice to open the narrative with a long, convoluted poem that she insisted on reciting in its entirety. Then she rambled on about some weird dream she had that doesn't make any apparent sense, and after ten minutes or so of blathering that was clearly going nowher I heard about this book and really, really wanted to like it. I really did. I got the audiobook version, read by the author. Her voice is grating and difficult to understand, and listening to her was tiring. Even more tiresome was her choice to open the narrative with a long, convoluted poem that she insisted on reciting in its entirety. Then she rambled on about some weird dream she had that doesn't make any apparent sense, and after ten minutes or so of blathering that was clearly going nowhere, I gave up on this book altogether. This was not at all what I had been led to expect by the promotional copy for this book, and by the other reviews, she must eventually get around to making some valid points. It's just that she wastes SO MUCH TIME getting there, and I couldn't bear to listen to that irritating voice droning on about irrelevant things any longer. Books need a strong opening, they need to hook the reader and make the reader care, not bore them to tears. I am confused and disappointed by how bad the opening was, because the subject of the book is one I care about and I really wanted to like it. But, as a reader, I cannot bear having my time wasted. Get to the point, writers. You cannot get to the point soon enough. And don't open with poetry, but if you must, quote no more than two short lines.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Megan Staunton

    MISFITS 🪰 “A misfit is one who looks at life differently. Many, however, are made into misfits because life looks at them differently.” A printing of Michaela’s MacTaggart Lecture given in 2018, (in which over its 43 year history, she was only the fifth woman to take the podium and the first person of colour) preluded by more recent musings on moths and Metamorphosis, Misfits exposes racism, sexism and the prism of isms that are swept under the carpet in the TV industry and beyond. This is not a MISFITS 🪰 “A misfit is one who looks at life differently. Many, however, are made into misfits because life looks at them differently.” A printing of Michaela’s MacTaggart Lecture given in 2018, (in which over its 43 year history, she was only the fifth woman to take the podium and the first person of colour) preluded by more recent musings on moths and Metamorphosis, Misfits exposes racism, sexism and the prism of isms that are swept under the carpet in the TV industry and beyond. This is not a new piece of work. And as Michaela herself questions in the New York Times, does it really constitute a book at all, given that the majority of the text has long been available online, for free? That question definitely crossed my mind, but as the guardian so deftly put it “That Coel’s original speech didn’t bring about a revolution in the industry would surely justify its transformation into a book.” Enacting change and making it stick is a long, frustrating and laborious road. And with the current conversations circling our society, we gut wrenchingly know that one tragic incident, in all its loss and devastation, rarely results in societal or legal change. We will continue to revolt, until we are listened to, and that’s what Misfits is. It’s a call to arms, a manifesto of intent and a rallying cry for change. Let’s just hope that collectively, we can all listen.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Katy Wheatley

    A manifesto written by Michaela Cole, best known for her television work with Chewing Gum and I May Destroy You. This was a speech she delivered in 2018 when she was invited to give the MacTaggart Lecture at the prestigious Edinburgh Television Festival. The main body of the speech is book ended by an introduction and conclusion here, to give context. This is wonderful. Coel talks about her time growing up, at school and her experiences in writing for and making television to celebrate her othern A manifesto written by Michaela Cole, best known for her television work with Chewing Gum and I May Destroy You. This was a speech she delivered in 2018 when she was invited to give the MacTaggart Lecture at the prestigious Edinburgh Television Festival. The main body of the speech is book ended by an introduction and conclusion here, to give context. This is wonderful. Coel talks about her time growing up, at school and her experiences in writing for and making television to celebrate her otherness, the Misfit badge she proudly discovered and shared with a group of friends at school and which has gone on to shape and define her for better or worse. This is a delicately balanced speech. There is anger here, and a really serious message about celebrating who we are and not giving up what makes us unique as soon as we feel we have been accepted into the mainstream. It is also a rebuke to those of us who feel that we can abuse our power and bully or shame the people we brand as misfits. The whole thing is lifted by humour and the humility of Coel to admit the mistakes that she has made and the learning she has had to do on her journey. Funny, angry, dark and passionate, this is a wonderful manifesto. It's slim size belies the huge messages it conveys.

  28. 4 out of 5

    salam

    4.5 🌟 “Since giving the lecture, I have asked myself what it is about moths that bothered me and most of us so much. Why did we kill them while we drew, collected and chased butterflies as children? Why was the moth excluded from this adoration and left to flutter the skies as a commercially unattractive misfit? And what made them so mesmerized by the very thing that often killed them? And what can happen in your life when you comfort or embrace the things that repel you?” Earlier this year — prior t 4.5 🌟 “Since giving the lecture, I have asked myself what it is about moths that bothered me and most of us so much. Why did we kill them while we drew, collected and chased butterflies as children? Why was the moth excluded from this adoration and left to flutter the skies as a commercially unattractive misfit? And what made them so mesmerized by the very thing that often killed them? And what can happen in your life when you comfort or embrace the things that repel you?” Earlier this year — prior to reading this book — I watched I May Destroy You and I remember just being in complete fucking awe, not just the brilliant writing and the structuring of the show, but the transparency and bluntness, that certainly to victims of sexual assault and people of colour, in general can find to be.. liberating; for their stories are being witnessed by millions for the first time on television and are being told the right way. - But beneath all the mess, I May Destroy You is this painful beating heart and all it wants is just a hug. Michaela Coel treats her stories like her babies. Storytelling is her forte and she does it like no other.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Steve Streeter

    Michaela Coel is an incredibly talented writer and actor and over the last decade has started to break down the barriers within the television and film” system”: This book is a call to arms for all of us who don’t feel we fit into a defined view of life and society ( often the tabloid stereotype of a halcyon 1950s England ) Coel writes in such an accessible way that you don’t want her to stop telling her stories of her misfit experiences - some the harrowing events in her life and laid bare . Ba Michaela Coel is an incredibly talented writer and actor and over the last decade has started to break down the barriers within the television and film” system”: This book is a call to arms for all of us who don’t feel we fit into a defined view of life and society ( often the tabloid stereotype of a halcyon 1950s England ) Coel writes in such an accessible way that you don’t want her to stop telling her stories of her misfit experiences - some the harrowing events in her life and laid bare . Barriers and future paths are developing in 2021 and this book gives a positive view that if we all support each other more much could be achieved. Coel is unique and her voice needs to be heard to liberate those who are often trapped in a society that seems to reward the privileged few more than those who truly deserve to be recognised. A concise but rewarding read that will leave me thinking about the ‘shaking ladder ‘for a long time to come.

  30. 4 out of 5

    CC

    I had a conversation about Michaela Coel during a visit with friends last week. I wondered aloud why someone so talented still seems to constantly be flying under the radar instead of exploding. During the run of Chewing Gum I was astonished when my friends all the way in America asked me if I'd seen the show. I expected her star to rise, much like Phoebe Waller Bridge. Unapologetic, relatable stories about women but finally from a Black perspective. Issa Rae of the UK. Not to discount the achie I had a conversation about Michaela Coel during a visit with friends last week. I wondered aloud why someone so talented still seems to constantly be flying under the radar instead of exploding. During the run of Chewing Gum I was astonished when my friends all the way in America asked me if I'd seen the show. I expected her star to rise, much like Phoebe Waller Bridge. Unapologetic, relatable stories about women but finally from a Black perspective. Issa Rae of the UK. Not to discount the achievements of Waller Bridge but I get the distinct feeling the same opportunities haven't been presented and this book delves a little bit into why. I May Destroy You was brilliant and brave, I watched it just before reading this book but had no idea just how autobiographical it was. I'd like to say that this manifesto finds Coel laid bare but I get the feeling that her soul goes into every project. I hope she and all the other misfit storytellers keep fighting to be heard.

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