Synopses & Reviews
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.
“Deeply powerful in its vulnerability, Unashamed invites us into the pain, beauty, and redemption that have shaped Leah Vernon....One of the most generous memoirs I’ve ever read.” Virgie Tovar, author of You Have the Right to Remain Fat
“Vernon’s narration reads like an intimate heart-to-heart chat with a friend...Irreverent, vulnerable, and unapologetic in every sense.” Kirkus Reviews
“Vernon’s determined advocacy for body positivity as a feminist and mental health issue, and her painful journey to self-acceptance, are moving and powerful, forcing readers to examine their own preconceptions about beauty standards and health.” Booklist
About the Author
Leah Vernon is a plus-size Hijabi model, social media influencer, public speaker, and freelance writer. She’s been featured by Buzzfeed, Yahoo, CBC, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Seventeen, and the New York Times, and she’s worked with brands including Adidas, Lululemon, and Universal Standard. She speaks at universities and organizations across the country on topics of intersectional feminism, race, religion and spirituality, cultural sensitivity, social media, and branding. She grew up in Detroit but currently resides in New York City. Connect with her on Instagram (@Lvernon2000) and on her website (Leahvernon.com).