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.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 36 members
I have really enjoyed reading 'Misfits' by Michaela Coel which is a short and important piece of writing by such a talent. This book draws on Michaela's Edinburgh Festival MacTaggart lecture which I had read extracts from but never read in full. Michaela shares anecdotes from growing up and going to school in London to her experiences in the TV industry. What I love about Michaela Coel is that she is not afraid to call out unfair and inappropriate behaviour. She looks at how things can be done better. She's such an important voice and her TV writing is truly unique. I loved reading this book and only wished it was longer. There is so much from 'Misfits' to go away and ponder. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
Amazing. A book everyone should read to understand ‘diversity’ or misfits as Michaela calls it. It is on par with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists and an important essay on understanding that you can’t show experiences beyond your knowledge on TV without supporting those people and questioning the norm. Outstanding. Read it.
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.
Michaela Coel is a British actress, screenwriter and producer. Probably best well known for her tv series I May Destroy You. This book is a personal memoir of her writing and experiences. The main section of the book is a transcript of a speech she gave at the Edinburgh Festival. The title of the book comes from Coel's definition of a Misfit, "one who looks at life differently". And that is the theme of the book. Her reflection of life as a misfit. From her childhood growing up in East London within the financial hub City of London. To her introduction into the television industry when she was writing Chewing Gum. I read this book one sitting, partly because it is a short book. But also because of Coel's excellent story-telling. I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Coel's work. But also those who are not familiar with her work. And want an alternative view of the television industry.
I haven’t watched Micaela´s MacTaggart Lecture but I have listened to many interviews and have watched Chewing Gum and I may destroy you (which I am still processing) so I was familiar with a lot of what she covers. Like most people I find everything she has to say super interesting and I am thrilled to listen to her stories many times. She covers her experiences growing up in central London, in drama school and in the TV industry. A lot of it is infuriating though not at all surprising. I am glad that she has made it, that she is getting more and more attention as I think she has done one of the best (if not the best) TV show ever. I highly recommend this book and I only wish it had been longer.
Coel takes us through her life as a working class, Black woman trying to make her way in writing and acting. She’s thrown into a world of misfits early on and thrives on it, a misfit being to her someone who will stand their ground and speak out, a positive thing. She encourages everyone to make some silence for themselves and have a think about what they are doing in life to help others, about how they operate. She shares a mistake she made with the writing of a person of a different ethnicity to her own, how she was called out for it and how she dealt with it – brave stuff to admit in print and lecture hall. In fact like Shon Faye, writer of “The Transgender Issue” which I’m reading at the moment, she talks strongly about how systems have to be changed not just reactions to one or more race. My longer review on my blog: https://librofulltime.wordpress.com/2021/09/18/book-review-michaela-coel-misfits/
I read this brief book in one sitting. It blew me away. Michaela Coel has made a plea for talented people to be helped and encouraged, particularly those that come from the margins of society. Outsiders like Coel need to be helped, and not discriminated against. Hers is an incredible talent.
As a huge fan of Michaela Coel I was so excited to read this book. It’s authentic, funny and serious all in one. It touches on her upbringing, her love of theatre, acting and writing, and the many obstacles she’s had to overcome. It also provides a much-needed call to action for the state of the media industry. I just wish the book was longer!
This is the book version of the speech that Coel made to an audience of creatives and media people at the Edinburgh TV festival. It looks at her experiences in the industry and what that tells you about how marginalised people are treated by the tv machine. I think Coel is amazing and I love what she’s doing in her writing and I could hear her voice reading this throughout. Whether it will work as well if you’re not as familiar with her, I don’t know. An uncomfortable read for the creative industry and for people from more dominant cultural backgrounds.
From the writer of hit TV shows Chewing Gum and I May Destroy You, Misfits: A Personal Manifesto reads like an extension of Michaela Coel’s dramatic work. Stories, thoughts and ideas expressed through her dark comedy onscreen unfurl on the written page. We follow her progress from the streets of Tower Hamlets onto the world stage. We watch her fear of moths turn into a tool for self-development, a love of everyone who doesn’t fit, who can challenge the strictures society puts on those who, for whatever reason, don’t sit neatly in the hegemony. These are the people who will bring new ideas and creativity, who will shake up the staid and unthinking herd, who will give voice to the silenced. It’s a fun, provocative and quick read. If you love her television work, you’ll love her manifesto.