Misfits: A Personal Manifesto by Michaela Coel
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|Misfits: A Personal Manifesto by Michaela Coel|
|Category: Politics and Society|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A brutally honest and hard-hitting look at what it's like to be black - and particularly black in the television industry. Very thought-provoking and everyone should read it. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 128/1h37m||Date: September 2021|
|Publisher: Ebury Press|
|External links: Author's website|
How am I able to be so transparent on paper about rape, malpractice and poverty, yet still compartmentalise? It's as though I were telling the truth whilst simultaneously running away from it.
Before you start reading Misfits you need to be in a certain frame of mind. You're not going to read a book of essays or a self-help book. You're going to read writing which was inspired by Michaela Coel's 2018 MacTaggart Lecture to professionals within the television industry at the Edinburgh TV Festival. You might be reading the book but you need to listen to the words as though you're in the lecture theatre. The disjointedness will fade away and you'll be carried on a cloud of exquisite writing.
It is a short read: the audiobook lasts for just one hour thirty-seven minutes as you might expect from a lecture. In many ways, this is merciful: Coel has lived with pain, with darkness and she wonders how long it has been her habit to recount horror with a smile. People who are misfits will recognise this - it is their defence.
And Coel gives the lecture in the way that does best: she tells us a story. It's the story of her child- and young adulthood in an area of special housing so close to the City of London that few people realised it was there.
Coming from the tiny Square Mile, and a tiny family, what carried me through those five years, was the abundance of Black girls, White girls, mixed girls, misfits; my friends were all misfits, who found the mainstream world unattractive.
Coel simply wanted to be herself (is that so unreasonable?) in an industry that demands the opposite. Some of the stories are horrifying and deeply shaming, but they should be read if there is to be transparency about what is happening and what has happened. It is superb.
I'd like to thank the producers for making a copy available to the Bookbag.
If Misfits appeals to you then you really should read We Need to Talk About Money by Otegha Uwagba.
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