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A searingly honest memoir of one young woman's journey toward self-acceptance as she comes to see her body as a symbol of rebellion and hope and chooses to live her life unapologetically. Ever since she was little, Leah Vernon was told what to believe and how to act. There wasn't any room for imperfection. Good Muslim girls listened more than they spoke. They didn't have a A searingly honest memoir of one young woman's journey toward self-acceptance as she comes to see her body as a symbol of rebellion and hope and chooses to live her life unapologetically. Ever since she was little, Leah Vernon was told what to believe and how to act. There wasn't any room for imperfection. Good Muslim girls listened more than they spoke. They didn't have a missing father or a mother with mental illness. They didn't have fat bodies or grow up wishing they could be like the white characters they saw on TV. They didn't have husbands who abused and cheated on them. They certainly didn't have secret abortions. In Unashamed, Vernon takes to task the myth of the perfect Muslim woman with frank dispatches on her love-hate relationship with her hijab and her faith, race, weight, mental illness, domestic violence, sexuality, the millennial world of dating, and the process of finding her voice. She opens up about her tumultuous adolescence living at the poverty line with her fiercely loving but troubled mother, her deadbeat dad, and her siblings, and the violent dissolution of her 10-year marriage. Tired of the constant policing of her clothing in the name of Islam and Western beauty standards, Vernon reflects on her experiences with hustling paycheck to paycheck, body-shaming, and redefining what it means to be a "good" Muslim. Irreverent, youthful, and funny, Unashamed gives anyone who is marginalized permission to live unapologetic, confident lives.


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A searingly honest memoir of one young woman's journey toward self-acceptance as she comes to see her body as a symbol of rebellion and hope and chooses to live her life unapologetically. Ever since she was little, Leah Vernon was told what to believe and how to act. There wasn't any room for imperfection. Good Muslim girls listened more than they spoke. They didn't have a A searingly honest memoir of one young woman's journey toward self-acceptance as she comes to see her body as a symbol of rebellion and hope and chooses to live her life unapologetically. Ever since she was little, Leah Vernon was told what to believe and how to act. There wasn't any room for imperfection. Good Muslim girls listened more than they spoke. They didn't have a missing father or a mother with mental illness. They didn't have fat bodies or grow up wishing they could be like the white characters they saw on TV. They didn't have husbands who abused and cheated on them. They certainly didn't have secret abortions. In Unashamed, Vernon takes to task the myth of the perfect Muslim woman with frank dispatches on her love-hate relationship with her hijab and her faith, race, weight, mental illness, domestic violence, sexuality, the millennial world of dating, and the process of finding her voice. She opens up about her tumultuous adolescence living at the poverty line with her fiercely loving but troubled mother, her deadbeat dad, and her siblings, and the violent dissolution of her 10-year marriage. Tired of the constant policing of her clothing in the name of Islam and Western beauty standards, Vernon reflects on her experiences with hustling paycheck to paycheck, body-shaming, and redefining what it means to be a "good" Muslim. Irreverent, youthful, and funny, Unashamed gives anyone who is marginalized permission to live unapologetic, confident lives.

30 review for Unashamed: Musings of a Fat, Black Muslim

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest UNASHAMED was a lot of fun. Sometimes you read a memoir that is filled to the bursting with personality and you can literally imagine them regaling you with their adventures in person, in their own voice, just by reading their words on the page. This memoir was like that. Leah Vernon has an opinion and she doesn't really care if you like it or not: and whether or not you approve of that, having that sort of fierce, haters-gonna-hate att Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest UNASHAMED was a lot of fun. Sometimes you read a memoir that is filled to the bursting with personality and you can literally imagine them regaling you with their adventures in person, in their own voice, just by reading their words on the page. This memoir was like that. Leah Vernon has an opinion and she doesn't really care if you like it or not: and whether or not you approve of that, having that sort of fierce, haters-gonna-hate attitude is really appealing-- especially to someone like me, a social weenie. In this memoir, Leah Vernon talks about growing up as a Black Muslim, and what that intersectionality looks like and feels like. She talks about what it was like to grow up poor. She talks about her toxic relationships with men and family, and how she either learned to work them out or leave. She talks about miscarriage and abortion. She talks about body positive rep, and the pain of being the "poster child" for whichever part of her identity she's supposed to be representing at the moment based on the arbitrary biases of whoever is interrogating her. There's a LOT to unpack. And for the most part, I think Leah did a really good job. Everything in here is written about so thoughtfully. She is an exceptional story-teller, and her toxic saga with her ex-husband felt like something out of a Lifetime drama. I also enjoyed reading about how she grew from her negative experiences and what they taught her, and how that equipped her to deal with internet fame as a fashion blogger-- not just on how to deal with trolls, but also on how to be grateful for attention and support when representing a body-type and look that hasn't been typical in the fashion industry. If you're looking for a book that talks about religious diversity, body positive rep, hijabi rep, Black Muslim rep, and all sorts of other variations on intersectionality, I think UNASHAMED is a great book. I'm going to recommend it to several friends I know of who enjoy reading inspiring memoirs like these that really open your eyes to the things that modern women do to make a difference. Writing style-wise and humor-wise, she reminded me a little of Phoebe Robinson. I really hope she writes another book! Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 4 to 4.5 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Richelle Robinson

    “I received a review copy from Amazon Vine and voluntarily provided an honest review. This does not affect the opinion of the book or the content of the review.’’ I’m not really a fan of biographies or memoirs but something about this person made me want to read. Maybe it was the cover? The title? The blurb? Who knows but I am so glad I took a chance because this was a very good read. The author was raw, explicit, honest and kept it all the way real with their story. I am not Muslim but I was abl “I received a review copy from Amazon Vine and voluntarily provided an honest review. This does not affect the opinion of the book or the content of the review.’’ I’m not really a fan of biographies or memoirs but something about this person made me want to read. Maybe it was the cover? The title? The blurb? Who knows but I am so glad I took a chance because this was a very good read. The author was raw, explicit, honest and kept it all the way real with their story. I am not Muslim but I was able to relate to this author when it comes to religion and certain expectations. I think anybody who struggles with body issues and finding their beauty within can really learn something from this book as well. I loved how it touched on the stigma associated with mental illness as well. I must say this book will make some people uncomfortable and that is one of the reasons why I enjoyed it so much. This book also had me doing some reflecting, nodding my head in agreement and highlighting passages as I read. I can’t tell you the last time I highlighted in a book. I love when a book can stop and make me think and I can use this motivation in my everyday life. Well done, Leah Vernon.

  3. 5 out of 5

    (inactive)

    this surpassed every fucking expectation i had. and to be honest i didn’t really have any. this was so raw and eloquent and POWERFUL and it honestly blew me away. the way leah told her story with so much care and heart and humor but was still unapologetic and blunt was incredible. there was an instance i was reading and my actual thought was, “shit. why isn’t this being taught and used as required reading?” so beautiful, so heartfelt, so brave, and so well written. i recommend this to everyone who this surpassed every fucking expectation i had. and to be honest i didn’t really have any. this was so raw and eloquent and POWERFUL and it honestly blew me away. the way leah told her story with so much care and heart and humor but was still unapologetic and blunt was incredible. there was an instance i was reading and my actual thought was, “shit. why isn’t this being taught and used as required reading?” so beautiful, so heartfelt, so brave, and so well written. i recommend this to everyone who feels comfortable with the the trigger warnings, because it’s totally worth the read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    I picked up this book at the recommendation of a friend, knowing nothing about it, but intrigued by the title and sassy photo on the cover. I’m grateful to have had the privilege of a window into the author’s life, and appreciative that she was willing to be so strikingly vulnerable. For the first half or so of the book I kept thinking “I don’t have to do this.” It was so poorly written and poorly edited, and her storytelling so raw and unexamined that there were passages of nothing but pain and I picked up this book at the recommendation of a friend, knowing nothing about it, but intrigued by the title and sassy photo on the cover. I’m grateful to have had the privilege of a window into the author’s life, and appreciative that she was willing to be so strikingly vulnerable. For the first half or so of the book I kept thinking “I don’t have to do this.” It was so poorly written and poorly edited, and her storytelling so raw and unexamined that there were passages of nothing but pain and anger screaming at me. It was hard to get through. Though there were certainly some redeeming qualities, they were far overshadowed by the sense of just reading the diary of a somewhat narcisistic young woman who’s had a really tough life. But I pushed through, and closer to the end everything came into focus more as I began to understand that the author is a social media star. Aha! She was writing to her Instagram audience (not me), and she must have a big enough following of people that this would serve. It’s incredible what the author has been able to achieve in her life, virtually on her own. I applaud her moxie, her DOING it, and her willingness to grow. — GO, LEAH!! — But I can’t help but think that if she were more mature, had done more of her own personal work before attempting a memoir, the sharp edges in her stories would have been more skillfully pointed to hit at the hearts of ALL readers. The value in a good memoir is that it makes a personal story universal. In this regard, this book can certainly use a lot of work. But I give it 3 out of 5 because in the end, I’m glad I read it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shireen Hakim

    Loved it. A must-read. I drove 30 miles to buy a copy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Grace W

    (c/p from my review on TheStoryGraph) 3.75 TW for this book includes: mentions of molestation, rape, spousal abuse, Islamaphobia, racism, fat-phobia This book is probably a lot better than my rating suggests. There were moments that really hit me and I'm glad there is such a very honest and beautiful story. It's only that I didn't particularly love the writing itself. There were times when the flow didn't work for me, moments of jumping back and forth that had me stumbling over sentences. I would (c/p from my review on TheStoryGraph) 3.75 TW for this book includes: mentions of molestation, rape, spousal abuse, Islamaphobia, racism, fat-phobia This book is probably a lot better than my rating suggests. There were moments that really hit me and I'm glad there is such a very honest and beautiful story. It's only that I didn't particularly love the writing itself. There were times when the flow didn't work for me, moments of jumping back and forth that had me stumbling over sentences. I would have liked it to have been slightly better edited as well. Overall I think this book has some really interesting things to say, I just would have liked the writing to have kept pace with the ideas.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

    probably would've liked it more if i had been following her before reading, but i just got this randomly. the stories were interesting but the writing style wasn't for me. (also there were moments when the internalized misogyny was... loud) probably would've liked it more if i had been following her before reading, but i just got this randomly. the stories were interesting but the writing style wasn't for me. (also there were moments when the internalized misogyny was... loud)

  8. 4 out of 5

    dawn sarai

    “I was done being told what to do.”⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ It’s not often that you read a memoir that you can only describe as freeing as if it healed some broken part of you that you have long ago tried to keep hidden from the rest of the world.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Unashamed by Leah Vernon brings it along with plenty of opportunities to chime in with a “yaasss girl.” It is by far in the top five of my all-time favorite memoirs, and I have been recommending and talking about it incessantly in the last week. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Let me just tell you “I was done being told what to do.”⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ It’s not often that you read a memoir that you can only describe as freeing as if it healed some broken part of you that you have long ago tried to keep hidden from the rest of the world.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Unashamed by Leah Vernon brings it along with plenty of opportunities to chime in with a “yaasss girl.” It is by far in the top five of my all-time favorite memoirs, and I have been recommending and talking about it incessantly in the last week. ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ Let me just tell you, though, if you aren’t ready to write a new chapter in your life, this is probably not the book for you. If you are done with living your life for the pleasure of others, you’ll find a nice dose of inspiration within these pages to get you started. ⁣ ⁣

  9. 4 out of 5

    Haneen

    Leah is a badass. So glad this book popped up on my library's Overdrive page. I cannot comprehend how she deals with all of the negativity and trolling from useless men, I would be so worn down. I'm happy she's stronger than all that and continues to do her thing. Her journey from childhood to adulthood was fraught with obstacles and abuse but she persevered with the help of some of her friends and family. I love her message of being true to yourself and not letting others get in the way of you Leah is a badass. So glad this book popped up on my library's Overdrive page. I cannot comprehend how she deals with all of the negativity and trolling from useless men, I would be so worn down. I'm happy she's stronger than all that and continues to do her thing. Her journey from childhood to adulthood was fraught with obstacles and abuse but she persevered with the help of some of her friends and family. I love her message of being true to yourself and not letting others get in the way of you living your life to the fullest.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    I wasn't familiar with Leah Vernon before I read this, but by the end I was a new fan. Vernon has a wonderful ability to blend intense, searing truths with a levity and lightness that doesn't detract from the content but instead makes it easier to embrace and accept. This book covers everything from religion to mental health to body image to family and abuse. It is powerful and captivating. . Thanks to Goodreads for an advanced copy. All opinions my own. I wasn't familiar with Leah Vernon before I read this, but by the end I was a new fan. Vernon has a wonderful ability to blend intense, searing truths with a levity and lightness that doesn't detract from the content but instead makes it easier to embrace and accept. This book covers everything from religion to mental health to body image to family and abuse. It is powerful and captivating. . Thanks to Goodreads for an advanced copy. All opinions my own.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

    A gritty portrayal of a Muslim, African American girl living in the US. I love her resilience and her strength through it all. It reminds me of Trevor Noah's autobiography. Similarly, Leah also shines through after she finally accepted the things that made her different are the very things that made her unique. You go, girl! A gritty portrayal of a Muslim, African American girl living in the US. I love her resilience and her strength through it all. It reminds me of Trevor Noah's autobiography. Similarly, Leah also shines through after she finally accepted the things that made her different are the very things that made her unique. You go, girl!

  12. 5 out of 5

    D. George

    I wish the publisher had marketed this memoir as a book of "stories", as the author calls them in her acknowledgments, because that's what this is - each chapter can stand alone, which means they don't really flow from one to the other. They are organized somewhat topically as well as chronologically, and they are written in a stream-of-consciousness style. All of which is fine, but I wasn't expecting it, which made it a bit harder for me to read the book. The title describes exactly what this bo I wish the publisher had marketed this memoir as a book of "stories", as the author calls them in her acknowledgments, because that's what this is - each chapter can stand alone, which means they don't really flow from one to the other. They are organized somewhat topically as well as chronologically, and they are written in a stream-of-consciousness style. All of which is fine, but I wasn't expecting it, which made it a bit harder for me to read the book. The title describes exactly what this book is - Unashamed. There's no fancy prose to hide the bad parts of life - the author shares the unadorned truth and addresses many taboos and stigmas - mental illness, religion, weight and fatphobia, abortion, domestic violence, poverty. The book is organized into five parts, with three chapters per part. Each chapter / story bounces around, and isn't necessarily linear. This can get confusing, as does the number of people mentioned - the many husbands her mother had, her siblings, her cousins, her friends, etc. - most of whom are referred to by a moniker (such as 'lil sis'). What separates this from other memoirs is that a lot of things are not included or are only briefly mentioned without context or followup, such as she mentions "going upstairs" in her apartment, a detail which hadn't been mentioned before and somewhat knocked me out of the story. She mentions worrying about her cat when she got arrested, but never mentions that cat again. She barely touches on her jobs and doesn't discuss how they might have affected her mentally or physically. She tells us that early in her marriage, she was carrying all the bills and household chores, but never followed up to tell us if her husband took over any of it after he got a job. I don't know if all of that was on purpose, or just an oversight, but it made the book feel incomplete. The author uses a conversational tone most of the time, which is good as it makes everything feel more real. However, sometimes the writing is more formal, and sometimes it includes a lot of slang, which means the book may not be understood by many people now (there was quite a lot I'm sure I missed), much less far into the future when those terms are no longer used. It's just not very consistent. Her use of tenses - past and present - is not consistent either, and can jump around within the same paragraph. You have to figure out from other contextual clues if what she's talking about is happening "now" or in the past. However, as far as telling it like it is? The author absolutely gets this right, from her very first, and then her second sentence: "I'm a fat, Black, Muslim woman from Detroit. And where I come from, women hide things." She is bound and determined not to hide anything. To embrace her own history and shortcomings and flaws and characteristics, as well as finding and showing the good she has in herself, and encourage others to do the same. Other sentences that grabbed me: ~ on talking about watching TV peopled by only whites: "by the end of the episode, everything would be alright. But that wasn't my world at all. At the end of the episode, I still lived in the real world. The world of a child of color living in the ghetto." ~ On trying to find clothes that fit: "Broke fat people didn't have the luxury of being cute and being able to get their arms through the sleeves." ~ On why Islam has its dark sides: "Hurt people hurt other people. Trauma and illness and abuse surpass faith sometimes." ~ On speaking out: "When you're someone like me, you find yourself hiding all the time, searching for the nearest shadow to disappear in. Concealing your truths and creating false narratives in order to protect yourself." ... "Well, I think it's time to do something different. The old ways no longer work. They no longer have a place in a more progressive world." If you are willing to hear unadorned, unashamed truth, then read this book. Note: I received this product free from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an unbiased review. I never guarantee a positive rating, and all opinions are my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Corinne Edwards

    3.5 stars rounded up Leah does not mess around. I know this about her because I've followed her on Instagram for a while now, appreciating her fashion sense and feminist Muslim vibe. She also, though, is vulnerable and honest. She owns her choices and her feelings and dares anyone to try and make her feel like she needs to take up less space. Don't you dare. Because of all that I feel like I've learned about her online, I decided to buy her book. She doesn't pretend she's for everyone - and her bo 3.5 stars rounded up Leah does not mess around. I know this about her because I've followed her on Instagram for a while now, appreciating her fashion sense and feminist Muslim vibe. She also, though, is vulnerable and honest. She owns her choices and her feelings and dares anyone to try and make her feel like she needs to take up less space. Don't you dare. Because of all that I feel like I've learned about her online, I decided to buy her book. She doesn't pretend she's for everyone - and her book isn't either. It has a lot of cursing and her raw way of writing could turn some readers off. Each chapter is it's own story, in a way, but the lack of a cohesive narrative didn't really bother me - I feel like this book is her way of putting her thoughts and experiences out into the world. She's showing how far she's come and, in some ways, telling me that if she can make a place and a name for herself with all the mess she's had to sort through, I can find the guts to figure out what I want out of my life too. I appreciated her views on being Muslim, on how complicated being outwardly religious in this country can be, even among men that profess to be the same religion. I really wonder if my inner life and self-worth as a woman would've been different if there had been more people like Leah to listen to in my life when I was growing up. I wish her the best of luck.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Leah Vernon is not someone I knew of before picking up this memoir, but I immediately fell in love with her and her voice. Growing up was not easy for her, but despite a mostly absent and occasionally outright cruel father, an emotionally distant and unstable mother, a fat body that didn't fit the societal standard of the model she wanted to be, and a religious identity that has continually brought distrust and animosity from other people, Vernon has ultimately thrived. She has carved out a spac Leah Vernon is not someone I knew of before picking up this memoir, but I immediately fell in love with her and her voice. Growing up was not easy for her, but despite a mostly absent and occasionally outright cruel father, an emotionally distant and unstable mother, a fat body that didn't fit the societal standard of the model she wanted to be, and a religious identity that has continually brought distrust and animosity from other people, Vernon has ultimately thrived. She has carved out a space for herself and others like her in the fashion and blogging worlds, and she is helping to change the mainstream idea of what is considered beautiful, fashionable, and fierce. I really enjoyed getting to know her through reading about her life thus far, and I'll be looking forward to more from her in the future! (Read Harder challenge #12: A memoir by someone from a religious tradition, or lack thereof, that is not your own)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amanda J

    Absolutely a 10/10 read. Vernon's writing style is very conversational and, although I tore through this book in one day, it felt like I was experiencing her live over a couple years worth of chats over coffee. I'm a convert to Islam, living in Detroit. I don't know her, but the stories she told are absolutely relatable to a massive cross-section of people. The hypocrisy in self, the hypocrisy in the community*, and the hypocrisy of life in general is clear as day - but the message of coming to t Absolutely a 10/10 read. Vernon's writing style is very conversational and, although I tore through this book in one day, it felt like I was experiencing her live over a couple years worth of chats over coffee. I'm a convert to Islam, living in Detroit. I don't know her, but the stories she told are absolutely relatable to a massive cross-section of people. The hypocrisy in self, the hypocrisy in the community*, and the hypocrisy of life in general is clear as day - but the message of coming to terms with one's self and being unashamed is absolutely a message we all need to internalize. *"Community" is used here to mean basically everywhere, and is not specific to one location or group of people.

  16. 5 out of 5

    CJ

    I enjoy Leah’s instagram, which is how I found out about her book. The book was a good profile of how she’s living her life, finding who she is, and creating her space in the world. The first 3/4 reads a bit disjointed story-wise, but I feel as if she’s sitting with me, telling these stories over tea. I’m happy to have read the book and I wish her continued successes.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amina M

    Had not heard of Leah Vernon, since I am barely on social media. Loved hearing an honest account of her life, and I liked that she was unapologetic about it. We need more honest stories about the Muslim community, and remind ourselves that it is not a monolith--the diversity is what makes it beautiful.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Monique

    From the moment I opened her book and, page by page, experiencing Leah's life, I was engaged with the unfolding events and how she overcame so many adversities. Such a great read! Thankful, I picked up this book and learned more about a woman of color who is also a Muslim in the US. From the moment I opened her book and, page by page, experiencing Leah's life, I was engaged with the unfolding events and how she overcame so many adversities. Such a great read! Thankful, I picked up this book and learned more about a woman of color who is also a Muslim in the US.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Natasha | readalongwithnat

    CW: domestic violence, molestation, abortion, suicide, fatphobia, eating disorder, islamophobia Really enjoyed this one!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Olivia E

    This is a really powerful, intersectional text. Would definitely recommend to anyone interested in fat liberation and how it intersects with womanhood, Blackness, and religion

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sofia The Great

    I thought it was okay.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Janilyn Kocher

    This Is an interesting read about a woman who had an unconventional upbringing. THe author struggled with a dysfunctional family and with her own self image. This book is about her own self discovery and living life on her terms. Sometimes the author was crass and crude, which wasn't necessary. Overall, it's an interesting memoir. Thanks to Edelweiss for the advance read. This Is an interesting read about a woman who had an unconventional upbringing. THe author struggled with a dysfunctional family and with her own self image. This book is about her own self discovery and living life on her terms. Sometimes the author was crass and crude, which wasn't necessary. Overall, it's an interesting memoir. Thanks to Edelweiss for the advance read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kefranks

    Entertaining. A very personal memoir. Somewhat repetitious, but good.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Taneem

    Potentially teachable, definitely something for my conclusion.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Swedberg

    If it weren't that this is Leah Vernon's story the way she wanted to tell it, I would give this two stars. Let me first say, I am not the audience for this book and I understand that others will find it powerful. It is Vernon's story and so her heterosexuality is one of the centers. However, the heteronormativity continually distanced me. I came out as a lesbian in the 1980s into a community that welcomed and celebrated bodies of all sizes. I have long believed every good person is also a beautif If it weren't that this is Leah Vernon's story the way she wanted to tell it, I would give this two stars. Let me first say, I am not the audience for this book and I understand that others will find it powerful. It is Vernon's story and so her heterosexuality is one of the centers. However, the heteronormativity continually distanced me. I came out as a lesbian in the 1980s into a community that welcomed and celebrated bodies of all sizes. I have long believed every good person is also a beautiful person. I am also entirely uninterested in fashion. Perhaps because of those things, I found much of the narrative tedious. And then, toward the end of the book, I came across this paragraph which is meant to be loving and inclusive and non-judgmental, but.... "As Muslims, we are taught to be perfect. In front of our peers, in the media, at work, at the nearby coffee shop. We are taught that we are being watched by not only God, but others, and that we need to be amazing individuals who aren't touched by mental illness, sexual abuse, or homosexuality. We've created created these ridiculous ideologies that we can only fit nicely into these frames" (180). While trying to say, "I don't find these things taboo to write about," putting the core of my identity into a category with sexual abuse reminds me of the decades I have been arguing with homophobes that queer sexuality is not abuse or pedophilia or bestiality.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Sanders

    I liked this book! There were quite a few terms that I didn't understand and weren't explained but that was probably part of the Muslim culture. After Sept. 11 2001 I think everyone was kind of afraid of Muslim people. I live about a half hour's drive from Detroit, where Leah is from, and I've been aware since Sept. 11 that Dearborn, MI is said to be the Muslim capital of the country. I am not originally from Michigan, I moved here in 1998 when I was pregnant and my baby's father lived in Detroit I liked this book! There were quite a few terms that I didn't understand and weren't explained but that was probably part of the Muslim culture. After Sept. 11 2001 I think everyone was kind of afraid of Muslim people. I live about a half hour's drive from Detroit, where Leah is from, and I've been aware since Sept. 11 that Dearborn, MI is said to be the Muslim capital of the country. I am not originally from Michigan, I moved here in 1998 when I was pregnant and my baby's father lived in Detroit. We had met online a couple of years before. My now husband grew up in Detroit and it wasn't somewhere he ever took me. After I moved here we moved to an apartment he had already rented in advance of me coming out here and it was a good 20 minutes from Detroit. Even until I read this book, I didn't know there was a Muslim community actually in Detroit. I've seen people at the grocery store with the Muslim head covering, even the nurse that works at one of my doctor's offices is Muslim. I know now that they aren't people to be afraid of. Reading this book written by a young Muslim woman was very enlightening, I learned a lot from her and things that she wrote about dealing with in her own personal life. I think she has a promising future doing what she's doing and I would love to see her write another book!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Casey

    When I say I devoured this book, I mean I finished it in like..three hours. I've followed @lvernon2000 for awhile because of her ferocious fat acceptance stance, as well as her being a proud Muslim woman (I'm constantly learning about other religions and/or cultures- especially ones I'm lacking exposure to). Vernon has written something so crushingly vulnerable and beautiful that I was legitimately stunned after a few of the essays. This is one of those collections that makes you fully aware of When I say I devoured this book, I mean I finished it in like..three hours. I've followed @lvernon2000 for awhile because of her ferocious fat acceptance stance, as well as her being a proud Muslim woman (I'm constantly learning about other religions and/or cultures- especially ones I'm lacking exposure to). Vernon has written something so crushingly vulnerable and beautiful that I was legitimately stunned after a few of the essays. This is one of those collections that makes you fully aware of how much work the individual put into themselves, and how beautifully the outcome has been. Not that there's any saccharine sweetness or unrealistic happy endings here, Vernon is brutally honest about the challenges she's still having to navigate, but overall, I get the vibe that she is a much stronger woman than her previous selves. I guess it mainly felt like a lil piece of proof that alllll the hard work you put in on making yourself your best self, and saying fuck off to all those who would hold you down, DOES pay off. [Picture ID: the cover of Leah Vernon's book "Unashamed: Musings of a Fat, Black Muslim" is laying on a background of green fuzzy blanket]

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tariqah

    The world could use a bit of this creative confidence and unashamed-ness Leah Vernon exhibits. She's everything you wouldn’t expect of a Muslim or model, whipping standards of the fashion world into new shapes, and declaring her faith not only by wearing a hijab but a f-cking gorgeous one at that. “Unashamed: Musings of a Fat, Black Muslim” is like the how-to of her career path and character. The narrowing standards of societal beauty and mediated twists to her Islamic faith is what also pushed h The world could use a bit of this creative confidence and unashamed-ness Leah Vernon exhibits. She's everything you wouldn’t expect of a Muslim or model, whipping standards of the fashion world into new shapes, and declaring her faith not only by wearing a hijab but a f-cking gorgeous one at that. “Unashamed: Musings of a Fat, Black Muslim” is like the how-to of her career path and character. The narrowing standards of societal beauty and mediated twists to her Islamic faith is what also pushed her to be so boldly creative. And of course, unashamed. She begins with the woes of growing up in a household where her faith was harvested but also where the source of her pains and insecurities lies. It took trial and error, years of battling eating disorders and having to leave a toxic marriage for her to get where she is. On top of that, haters peered around every corner for their chance to shame and belittle. Nevertheless, she still kept at being herself, and unashamed of it. This is a timely pick-me-up for women and girls looking to expand beyond the standards and limitations society--and even ourselves--tend to put down on us.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

    They say to never judge a book by its cover, but I did with this one. From the vibrant colors to the title, my eyes saw something they wanted to know more about in an instant. I had no idea who Leah Vernon was before I got this book because I’m not a huge social media person nor am I too big into fashion - something one can quickly tell by my daily ensembles. Nevertheless, I love reading about lives that are unlike mine. I knew what it was to be a big Black woman, but Muslim, that was something They say to never judge a book by its cover, but I did with this one. From the vibrant colors to the title, my eyes saw something they wanted to know more about in an instant. I had no idea who Leah Vernon was before I got this book because I’m not a huge social media person nor am I too big into fashion - something one can quickly tell by my daily ensembles. Nevertheless, I love reading about lives that are unlike mine. I knew what it was to be a big Black woman, but Muslim, that was something new to me. So I cracked it open and found myself enthralled with the conversational tone of Vernon’s tales. My heart ached as she revealed details of her relationship with her father, I sat saddened by her marriage, but I also applauded her along the way as she overcame numerous setbacks brought on by the people in her life. This is a great book for anyone who has struggled with family, love, weight, and/or self-esteem in general. It’s also great for those looking for a bit of inspo to break out of their shell and just go for their goals - whatever they may be.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Johari “JoJo” Fletcher

    I preordered this book months and months ago, waiting each week to get closer and closer to reading it. I hoped and prayed I wouldn’t be waiting just to be disappointed. When I started reading I had no idea what I was in for. I didn’t know if Leah would let it all hang out like wearing jail house cornrows after you take your wig off. Or if she would gloss over the ups and downs of life and sugar coat other parts. I am here to tell you baby girl gives it to you straight no chaser. There was some I preordered this book months and months ago, waiting each week to get closer and closer to reading it. I hoped and prayed I wouldn’t be waiting just to be disappointed. When I started reading I had no idea what I was in for. I didn’t know if Leah would let it all hang out like wearing jail house cornrows after you take your wig off. Or if she would gloss over the ups and downs of life and sugar coat other parts. I am here to tell you baby girl gives it to you straight no chaser. There was some parts I could have used one of those good old church fans to fan myself,because babeee it was getting hot!! This book speaks on childhoods ,college education,missing parents,marriage at a young age and more . The most important thing is it gives is African American Muslim realness . If you aren’t into realness then this book is not for you!! If you love realness with a dash of humor and sarcasm this book is definitely for you!! #Muslimrealness #yourhomegirlslibrary #tonguepop #LeahV #Beautyandthemuse #girlpower #blackbookworm #youbetterwerk #growingupblackandmuslim

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