Subtitled “A journey from shame to pride and everything in between” Life As A Unicorn details Amrou Al-Kadhi‘s experiences growing up gay as an Iraqi-immigrant in the UK and as the son of strict Muslim parents.
They write about their struggles to seek their own identity; battling with the constraints of their Muslim family as well as navigating the British education system, whilst simultaneously coming to terms with their sexuality and trying to find a sense of self-worth.
It is not an easy read; Amrou’s journey is complex and highlights how distressing their experiences have been. They felt lost and rejected within their family, barely survived school and struggled to find and accept their identity not only as an immigrant straddling two very different cultures but also navigating life, love and sex as a gay person.
Amrou’s writing is so open and honest that it cannot fail to move the reader; they describe everything with such candour and vividness that they take us on their journey with them. Even in their meanest moments we still root for them and will them to succeed.
Thankfully Amrou Al-Kadhi flourished and is an accomplished writer, actor, filmmaker and drag queen performer. Read more about them at their website here.
Life As A Unicorn won the 2020 Polari Prize, a UK award which celebrates literature that explores the LGTBQ+ experience.
I implore you to read this; I devoured the whole thing in just a couple of days.