Writing a successful book for young adults can be hard if it doesn’t have magic and vampires in it.
But a pastor in a Glendale church wrote a book aimed to help troubled teenagers in 2011, and since then, the book has taken on a second life, spurring the creation of conventions and a clothing company.
Even a hip-hop group called Social Club released an album called “Misfits 2” which features the pastor rapping in a song.
The Rev. Chris Durso, a pastor in Christ Tabernacle, wrote “Misfit” in 2011 and since then interest in the book has become national, with religious youth conferences called MISFIT Tours being held in Washington, D.C., and other places. These conferences have attracted Christian rappers like “Da’ Truth” and Sean Simmonds. And in August, there will be another MISFIT conference.
“I had no idea that the book would get so big,” Durso said. “I never sought out to be an author. I grew up diagnosed with ADD and I never read many books. So it’s pretty ironic.”
The book reads like a self-help book and in the first few pages Durso writes about a student, Eugene, he knew in school who committed suicide. Durso wrote the book in the hopes that today’s youth won’t go down the same path.
“I didn’t want the book to read like I’m telling the reader what to do,” Durso said. “I wanted it to feel like we’re on a journey together.”
Along with the periodic tours, Durso, who is the youth minister, holds a youth group meeting at the church called Misfit NYC. Every Friday, kids from the area and all over the city sing, rap and hold a religious service. The group, led by Durso, discusses many of the issues that are in the book: being yourself instead of conforming to others and pursuing goals in life that are personally worthwhile.
“I want this book to spur you on and reach your goals,” Durso said. “There are too few revolutionaries in this world and if we had more we could see this world in a much better state.”