Unashamed: Musings of a Fat, Black Muslim

Beacon. Oct. 2019. 240p. ISBN 9780807012628. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780807012635. SOC SCI
Vernon is a plus-size model, style blogger, and activist. Much of her authorial debut recounts family and relationship drama, focusing on down-and-dirty narratives of arguments, physical fights, and abuse. Vernon is more reflective and analytical in the final section, addressing plus-size modeling, modesty, and wearing (or not wearing) hijab, striving for perfection, sexism and colorism in Muslim communities, and social media trials and tribulations. Confrontational, fierce, and frequently crude, the author openly addresses the prejudices she’s faced as a fat, black, Muslim woman, and her mental health struggles. However, she seems to fail to recognize that she falls into some of the same biases she condemns in others. For example, Vernon worries that men aren’t attracted to her because she’s fat while simultaneously saying she won’t date men who are too short.
VERDICT Primarily recommended for Vernon’s existing fan base, this candid memoir will also be of interest for those who have experienced emotional, physical, or sexual violence, and who are seeking forceful encouragement toward self-empowerment and self-expression.

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