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  • Life as a Unicorn

  • A Journey from Shame to Pride and Everything in Between
  • By: Amrou Al-Kadhi
  • Narrated by: Amrou Al-Kadhi
  • Length: 7 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (204 ratings)

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Life as a Unicorn

By: Amrou Al-Kadhi
Narrated by: Amrou Al-Kadhi
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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)

What listeners say about Life as a Unicorn

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  • Overall
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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.

5 people found this helpful

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Funny and heartbreaking

Gave me a new way to look at drag. It also shows the reader a glimpse of the complexities of the feelings many religious lgbtqi+ experience as well as Middle Eastern immigrants. And wonderful descriptions and thoughts around OCD.
It even contains life lessons for me, a white cis-het woman.
Amrou is honest, open, and a very reflected writer.

The only small thing, not even negative really, is that their voice is so relaxing it difficult to keep focused when listening for long periods (hours).

3 people found this helpful

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What a story!

I need a sit down. What a ride. Has to be listened to be believed.

3 people found this helpful

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Must listen

An absolute essential read/listen for any and all LGBTQ+ humans and allies alike!

Amrou narrates this story expertly…as they should being that it’s their own…with the perfect amount of wit, charm, intellect and above all, brutal honesty. I feel I have been able to take something special from this story and that is the reassurance that while growing up queer in a straight world will do just about everything possible to f**k us up but no matter how many times the straight vernacular smacks us down, our unique sense of humanity is the reward for perseverance.

Thank you Amrou. I have just ordered a physical copy of the book from a queer indie retailer to further support this essential queer read.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting

A good real story of a gay Muslim you may think boring . It's not, it's good.

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EXCELLENT

This is a deeply moving honest and hilarious work. I couldn’t put it down . Highly recommend.

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A raw, honest, vulnerable and powerful memoir.

A very moving life story of coming around full circle and finding self-love and acceptance. Loved it.

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let's call it OK

This is a good book, it's heartbreaking and unashamedly brutal in the way that he describes his mental health, his torment by his parents and sexual partners. it's really interesting to hear what it's like growing up as a queer person in a family that doesn't actually accept you.
the only thing that kept pulling me out of the story was the fact that every time he introduced a new character he said 'let's call her/him...' like we didn't know he's had to change their names to avoid getting sued.
any way I'd recommend it to anyone who wants insight into the queer experience

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I feel seen

Really eloquent and articulate; colourful and beautiful pictorially, relevant and healing. Thank you Amoura. Ferhan khan (Queer Muslim Accidental Activist).

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Just press play! Fantastic to listen to

Loved it! Thanks to Amrou for sharing and performing their story with the rest of us.