A heart-breaking and hilarious memoir about the author’s fight to be true to themself
WINNER OF THE POLARI FIRST BOOK PRIZE 2020
WINNER OF A SOMERSET MAUGHAM AWARD
Amrou knew they were gay when, aged ten, 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.
Life as a 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 …
‘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 twenty-first century. It moved my heart and soul’ Russell T Davies
‘A heartbreaking, healing book. it will make you better' Simon Amstell
‘Astonishingly brave and engaging, Unicorn shows us a side of life seldom explored’ Joanna Lumley
‘Amrou’s book is slightly magical, I think. They are a survivor, a storyteller and yes, a unicorn’ Juno Dawson
‘Amrou's story is at times painful, at times hilarious, but always completely resonant. If you've ever felt like an outsider, or caught among several identities, this book is a light in the dark and a soothing balm on the pain of loneliness and alienation’ Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
‘This is a masterpiece, an incredible emotional voyage, moving, funny, provocative, educational, a book you must read whatever your ethnicity or your sexual or gender identity. Beautifully written by an author whose voice must be heard’ Owen Jones
‘Amrou writes with a confidence and lightness of touch, meaning you will laugh and you will cry and you will see real tender moments in a life fully lived. An incredibly adept writer and performer, Amrou brings to readers an important story unlike anything else you will read for a long, long time, and yet so incredibly universal.’ Nikesh Shukla, author of Coconut Unlimited and editor of The Good Immigrant
‘Tender and hilarious in equal parts, this is a memoir like no other. A beautiful, honest account of what it is like to grow up between multiple expectations, and an uplifting reminder that it is possible to find happiness by being yourself. I was gripped at every page’ Angela Saini, author of Superior
About the author
Amrou Al-Kadhi is the founder of drag troupe Denim and has written an episode for Kumail Nanjiani & Emily V. Gordon’s upcoming series for Apple (US), Little America, as well as for BBC America’s hotly anticipated series, The Watch. Amrou has two original TV-series in development, one with Channel 4 Comedy and the other with BBC Drama. Amrou has written and directed four short films that focus on the intersection of queer identity and race, and has features in development with Film4, the BFI and BBC films. Their journalism has appeared in the Guardian, Independent, Gay Times, Attitude, CNN and Little White Lies, among other publications. Unicorn is Amrou’s first book.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
When a book has rave reviews from celebrity readers including Sir Ian McKellen, Joanna Lumley and Simon Amstell, we pay attention. Amrou Al-Kadhi’s debut is an outrageously funny memoir about their experience growing up as a God-fearing Muslim boy and their butterfly-esque metamorphosis. Written with flair and fabulous wit, the book speaks to the transformative power of drag and it’s no surprise that it’s found fans in such high places. Sharing their experiences as a queen called Glamrou, there is all the glitz and glamour that we hoped to discover but, perhaps surprisingly, it isn’t their fearless self-expression that tugged at our heartstrings most. Al-Kadhi's flamboyant anecdotes are masterfully balanced with vulnerable explorations of what self-identity means in Al-Kadhi’s community and—most movingly—the healing and forgiveness found in their relationship with their mother.
I bought this book a while ago as I wanted something a little different to read
I really enjoyed it
It’s quite an easy read