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Unicorn

A Journey from Shame to Pride and Everything in Between
Narrated by: Amrou Al-Kadhi
Length: 7 hrs and 32 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (65 ratings)

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Summary

A heart-breaking and hilarious memoir about the author’s fight to be true to themself.

Winner of A Somerset Maugham Award. 

Shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize 2020.

From a god-fearing Muslim boy enraptured with their mother, to a vocal, queer drag queen estranged from their family, this is a heart-breaking and hilarious memoir about the author’s fight to be true to themself....

Amrou knew they were gay when, aged 10, they first laid eyes on Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone. It was love at first sight. Amrou’s parents weren’t so happy.... 

From that moment on, Amrou began searching in all the wrong places for ways to make their divided self whole again. Unicorn is a hilarious yet devastating story of a search for belonging, following the painful and surprising process of transforming from a god-fearing Muslim boy to a queer drag queen, strutting the stage in seven-inch heels and saying the things nobody else dares to.... 

©2019 Amrou Al-Kadhi (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"It should be [shared] far and wide." (Ian McKellen)

"This book is as rare, fabulous and beautiful as the creature it is named for. A masterpiece of psychology, a major study of Islam and a definitive study of drag, it made me cry, it made me rage and it made me hoot. Full of anger, insight and philosophy, along with some cracking great gags, this is a magnificent and essential document of the 21st century. It moved my heart and soul." (Russell T. Davies)

"A heartbreaking, healing book. it will make you better." (Simon Amstell)

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    5 out of 5 stars
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WOW!

"Unicorn" is both heart-warming and heart-breaking at the same time. This astounding memoir gives a voice seldom heard, of a Queer, Drag Queen Muslim non-binary person. It managed to break my heart one moment and the next, swell with happiness. I cannot stress enough how important this read is. TW: homophobia, sexual assault.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not as expected

I was disappointed in this book, the concept was good but the execution was not for me . I was not interested in the detailed sexual encounters . I felt sad the author went through rejection from him family but at the same time he could have shown more respect for his beloved mother on many occasions . This book was written by a man of great intelligence and lost me on a few chapters but that’s no discredit to him - I’m just not as academic. Overall , I enjoyed half the book hence giving it a 3 star rating .

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  • t
  • 17-11-19

Persevere

It was a slow start, and the narration by the author was at times irritating and overly self conscious. I think a version with a narrator able to take a step back may be better. That said, from the self involved youth blossoms an intelligent, compassionate and brave adult. I’m glad I stayed with the book to the end, there is something to be learned from it beyond one person’s story, and that may be more apparent with a different reader