My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Date read: 24 October 2017
Published by Simon & Schuster on October 24th, 2017
Verdict: This is a bit like Lidia-lite.
A self-defined misfit makes a powerful case for not fitting in—for recognizing the beauty, and difficulty, in forging an original path.
A misfit is a person who missed fitting in, a person who fits in badly, or this: a person who is poorly adapted to new situations and environments. It’s a shameful word, a word no one typically tries to own. Until now.
Lidia Yuknavitch is a proud misfit. That wasn’t always the case. It took Lidia a long time to not simply accept, but appreciate, her misfit status. Having flunked out of college twice (and maybe even a third time that she’s not going to tell you about), with two epic divorces under her belt, an episode of rehab for drug use, and two stints in jail, she felt like she would never fit in. She was a hopeless misfit. She’d failed as daughter, wife, mother, scholar—and yet the dream of being a writer was stuck like “a small sad stone” in her throat.
The feeling of not fitting in is universal. The Misfit’s Manifesto is for misfits around the world—the rebels, the eccentrics, the oddballs, and anyone who has ever felt like she was messing up. It’s Lidia’s love letter to all those who can’t ever seem to find the “right” path. She won’t tell you how to stop being a misfit—quite the opposite. In her charming, poetic, funny, and frank style, Lidia will reveal why being a misfit is not something to overcome, but something to embrace. Lidia also encourages her fellow misfits not to be afraid of pursuing goals, how to stand up, how to ask for the things they want most. Misfits belong in the room, too, she reminds us, even if their path to that room is bumpy and winding. An important idea that transcends all cultures and countries, this book has created a brave and compassionate community for misfits, a place where everyone can belong.
“When did we forget that we are not the stories we tell ourselves?”
I admire Lidia Yuknavitch: for her honesty, her brilliance, her resilience and for her genius way of writing. Having just finished The Chronology of Water I couldn’t not read this. This book does exactly what it says on the tin: It is a manifesto for/ about misfits. Lidia Yuknavitch uses her own experience as well as the experiences of fellow misfits to paint a picture of what being a misfit can mean and what we all can learn from them. She makes a powerful statement on the importance of art and of channeling pain into something greater. She shows how she has found a place in the world, after many many a detour. She shows how her weaknesses can be her strength and the place where beautiful art develops.
I think, the main problem for me was that I read it so shortly after the masterpiece that was The Chronology of Water. That book just blew my mind and there was no way a book that is essentially the longform of a TED talk to even come close to its structural brilliance. She also rehashes a lot of that book but in way that creates a narrative – and I thought the strength of her other book was that she did not do that. She told of her life in fragmented, poem-like chapters. This narrative created afterwards feels somehow less true to life.
Still, she can spin beautiful sentences like hardly anybody else and her voice and viewpoint is an important one. I adore that she ultimately arrived in a place of strength and how she uses that strength to try and make the world a better one.
First sentences: “Misfit. Trust me when I say there is a lot packed into that little word.”
I received an arc of this book curtesy of NetGalley and Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.