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.
Lidia Yuknavitch is the national bestselling author of the novels The Book of Joan, The Small Backs of Children, Dora: A Headcase, and the memoir The Chronology of Water. Her acclaimed TED Talk “The Beauty of Being a Misfit” has over 2 million views. She is the recipient of two Oregon Book Awards, a Willamette Writers Award, and was a finalist for the 2017 Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize and the 2012 Pen Center Creative Nonfiction Award. She writes, teaches, and lives in Portland, Oregon.
“A beautifully written field guide to being weird.”—Kirkus
“The antidote to feeling alienated is to find one's tribe and stand together. Lidia Yuknavitch defines and offers a shared space for everyone ever labeled ‘oddball,’ ‘weirdo’ or ‘freak.’ Hard-earned sparks of wisdom spring off every page. A love letter to non-conformity, this book is going to change lives."—Hope Edelman, New York Times bestselling author of Motherless Daughters
"Hold your breath, steady your stance, and dive into The Misfit’s Manifesto, an immersive, stunning splash of poetic rage. More investigative memoir than manifesto, this small book roars in Yuknavitch's big voice, demanding compassion, justice, and love for those who, like the author, choose (or are forced) to take the long view only visible from society's margins."—Meredith Maran, The New Old Me
“IF THE ROAD YOU CAME IN ON LED THROUGH SEVERAL HELLS and you walked it more alone than you’d ever want anyone to be, if you were a wolf who chewed off her own leg to escape where you started out, if you paved the road with broken things and crawled in on your knees, this is your book, full of your people. Welcome home.”—REBECCA SOLNIT, author of Hope in the Dark
“I CRIED WHEN I READ LIDIA YUKNAVITCH’S THE MISFIT’S MANIFESTO. Lidia has created a safe space for those of us who have never fit in, for whom the world often seems an impossible place. This remarkable book is a house for people who didn’t believe they had a home.”—STEPHEN ELLIOTT, author of The Adderall Diaries
“THE BEST CHARACTERS ARE MISFITS. Lidia Yuknavitch is a conduit for these voices. The ultimate misfit, she’s a seer and a seed, brave and tender, humble and humanitarian, a poet in the ancient sense of the word. Thank the stars for her. And this book.”—SARAH GERARD, author of Sunshine State
“THIS BOOK WILL SAVE LIVES.”—CHELSEA CAIN, New York Times bestselling author
“THIS BOOK IS NOTHING LESS THAN A LIFE-CHANGER. Lidia Yuknavitch is a miracle of a writer who makes you see the messes we make as a deeper, richer, more ravishing way of being alive together.”—CAROLINE LEAVITT, author of Cruel Beautiful World and the New York Times bestseller Pictures of You
"Fellow misfits, breathe a sigh of relief: We're not alone. In fact, we have a proud standard-bearer in Lidia Yuknavitch, who eloquently mounts this appreciation of the weird, the maladapted, and the outsider-identifying. Drawing from her own history—of flunk-outs, divorce, drug use, and failure—Yuknavitch encourages oddballs to smell the strange roses."—ELLE