Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Flamingo Rising” as Want to Read:
The Flamingo Rising
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Flamingo Rising

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  455 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
In this touching, hilarious novel of the heart and mind, of dreams and memory, of desire and first love, Abe Lee comes of age in the 1960s, living with his unforgettable family at the Flamingo Drive-In Theatre on a scrubby patch of coast between Jacksonville and St. Augustine, Florida. There, some of America's last sweet moments of innocence are unfolding.

For Abe's father,
ebook, 0 pages
Published November 17th 2010 by Ballantine Books (first published 1997)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Flamingo Rising, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Flamingo Rising

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Good Book Fairy
Jun 13, 2011 Good Book Fairy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-read
my book club decided to read this book after it was on a list of books that was required reading at our kid's high school and a group of extremists wanted to have it banned from the selection choices.

as we are all consummate readers, we were totally against the crazy folk who want ANY books banned but we decided to pick one of them and read it to see why.

well, we're still trying to figure that one out. yes, there is a virginity lost. is it consensual, yes. was it told graphically, no!

i found thi
Ron Adkins
Feb 17, 2015 Ron Adkins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've had this book on my shelf for years. I started reading when I first bought it, got about 30 pages in, then put it down. I should have kept reading. This book was one of the most delightful surprises of my reading experience. It was nostalgic and humanistic. It was, in turn, tender, gut-wrenchingly sad, and wonderfully funny. The characters were well-balanced and three dimensional.

I loved the world Baker created. I don't normally re-read books, but this one may get pulled from the shelf som
Cathy Klein
Apr 09, 2012 Cathy Klein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book about 15 years ago and remember loving the story and the characters. It's one of those few books that can genuinely make me feel emotional, both happy & sad. Abraham's story about his father's legacy in the Flamingo Drive-in and his own coming of age is just enough "crazy" & touching. There's so much to think about between the relationship of Abraham & Grace and Abraham & Alice that I don't have the exact words to describe them, but I love them both.
Shawn Keenan
May 01, 2012 Shawn Keenan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book really pulled me in and kept me engaged until the end. The two things that stood out to me in this book were the characters and timeline and its use as a heavy-handed foreshadowing device. Having gotten to the end of the book and the pivotal scene that most of the foreshadowing was leading up to, I felt the unusual device was warranted and lent to the emotional impact of the scene in a needful way. All of the characters were fleshed out with deep backgrounds and personal motivations th ...more
Jan 19, 2014 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1997, this book was given to me by a friend. Reminiscent in more than location, of the more recent book by Laura Lee Smith, Heart of Palm, The Flamingo Rising is set on the Atlantic Coast near St. Augustine . The action in this book centers on the story of a family that owns and runs a drive in movie theater located on the beach. Eccentric parents, two adopted children and an extended family of usual workers and helpers live in and manage the theater. Across the road and in the shad ...more
Feb 11, 2015 Gail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very fortunate to grow up in the 1960s and live close to a drive in theater. We always went as a family to see two movies and play in the playground and stay up late. As a teen we would get a group of friends to see a scary movie and sit on top of our cars or on lawn chairs eating drive in food. This book was bittersweet for me with all the memories of Abe and Louise. It had a "Wonder Years" feeling to this book as told by Abe about his life in the 1960s and the present. I found myself ver ...more
Jan 10, 2016 Msellen88 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun read. No violence, no vampires, no gratuitous romance. I found Baker's Flamingo Rising on the bookshelf of a cruise ship and it looked like a quirky story. Set in Florida, it is the story of a family who owns one of the biggest drive-in theaters in the country. The characters are all interesting and there is both humor and human drama. This is a very quick read, never slow and I enjoyed the character development that the author takes the time to do. If you are looking for a bright and bree ...more
Stacy Parrish
Aug 02, 2007 Stacy Parrish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As an English teacher, I have read many "good" books, but this is my favorite book of all time. I read it each and every summer. It is like an old friend.

This book is unlike any coming of age novel I have ever read. Living in the world's largest drive-in movie theatre, the Lee family teaches the reader what it means to love and lose. The narrator is one of the most genuine voices I have read. I love it...totally love it.
Joe Bolin
Aug 27, 2012 Joe Bolin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ultimate compliment: I'm going to miss my friends at "The Flamingo." This novel was a thoroughly engrossing read, full of quirky, sympathetic characters. The ending left me with questions, but satisfied.
Jun 14, 2013 Elisabeth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-books
Pointless and disturbing. This was my summer reading book for school? seriously who picked this?
Jul 13, 2017 Clancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Never before (and in all likelihood never again) have I wished, powerfully wished, to be an adopted Korean boy in Florida in the '60s.

I'm being facetious. This is an incredible book. A fucking incredible book. There are not enough stars in this website's rating system, nor expletives in this language I possess, to adequately represent the quality of an outlier like this.

This is the only book I've ever read that comes close to inducing that feeling of true human contentment and happiness. That f
Jul 05, 2017 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, florida
An average coming-of-age story is set in the captivating location of a huge North Florida drive-in movie theatre in the '60's. Without the unique setting, this was a 3 star story at best, but the strong setting adds a star.
Christina (Ensconced in Lit)
I was recommended this book by a good friend.

I will say this first. I have never read a book like The Flamingo Rising by Larry Baker and I've read a lot. This book is hard to describe. The best I can do is that the protagonist and narrator is Abraham, the adopted Korean son, to a drive-in theater Florida native. We find that later in life, Abraham is a lover a photography. To me, the book is written in a series of photographs-- snap shots in time that are focused around his early teen years, his
Jim Johnson
Aug 10, 2016 Jim Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An interesting novel about family rivalries in Florida. The narrator, Abraham Issac Lee, tells the story of his father, Hubert Thomas Lee, who had an intense personal rivalry with Turner West. The latter built a funeral home on the west side of highway A1A between Jacksonville and St. Augustine in 1951. Hubert Lee, on the other hand, built a drive-in theatre, named the Flamingo, on land just opposite on the east side of the highway. As the novel proceeds, we learn that Abraham was an orphan of K ...more
Feb 23, 2008 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty decent coming of age story, which is made unique by the way that the author weaves together different time lines inside of the plot. The narrator's voice is distinctive, and the content of the story is memorable. The characters are well rendered, and very, very likable. The main action of the story takes place in the tumultuous era of the late sixties, amid the vietnam war, civil rights, and the changing American landscape.

However, all in all, the book is a pleasant diversion without r
Larry Baker's The Flamingo Rising came off as sort of John Irving-lite: quirky characters, meandering stories, but none of the impact that Irving novels have. Still, it was a cute, sweet story and I enjoyed slipping into the Lees lives for a bit.
Set in the 1960s along the Florida coast, The Flamingo Rising is a coming of age story starring Abe Lee, who has fallen in love with his father's mortal enemy's daughter, Grace. Told primarily in flashbacks, we meet the Lee family, headed by genuine luna
Aug 10, 2015 Caitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I was asked to read a book by a Florida author by one of my colleagues, who is working on a display for our library - specifically a book set in or written by an author from St. Augustine. I chose The Flamingo Rising, and had no expectations going into the novel but was pleasantly surprised by what I found. The story reads like a memoir and is very much a coming-of-age novel. The narrator is Abraham Isaac Lee, who details the events of several years of his childhood growing up at the Flamingo Dr ...more
Aug 26, 2008 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I loved this book, and it is definitely a contender for my top ten of 2008 list. Hubert Lee builds the world's biggest drive-in theater, the Flamingo, next to Turner West's funeral home, sparking an intense feud. Hubert Lee adopted two children from Korea, Louise and Abe, our narrator.

The book was billed as a Romeo and Juliet story between Abe and Turner West's daughter, Grace, but it's more of a coming-of-age in the 1960s story. I was interested in all of the quirky and unique characters, and
Stephanie Holcomb
This was a good book.

Seriously. I'm a fan of John Irving, Pat Conroy and the like, and the writing of Larry Baker is similar. An intriguing story, a coming of age story of a Korean adopted boy and his sister growing up in Florida in a drive-in movie theatre and the people who work there, as well as the love of his life--the daughter of the man who owns the funeral home next door, Abraham's father's nemesis. Intriguing, fascinating, sexy without being pornographic and often just lovely, this is a
Linda Harkins
May 04, 2016 Linda Harkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Baker's debut novel is set in the 1960s in Jacksonville, FL. Told from the POV of a white family's adopted son from Korea, it's a coming-of-age story. The family fortune is made from the Flamingo Drive-In Theatre adjacent to a funeral home operated by Turner West and his six sons. Abe, the adopted son, falls in love with Turner's only daughter, Grace. The big problem is that Abe's father and Grace's father have a falling out and continue their feuding throughout the story. It is a good read, but ...more
Oct 21, 2015 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To children of the 60's and 70's whose parents took them to the drive-in theater to watch movies, this novel will take you down memory lane. Set in Florida and the family lives in a house built to be the screen for the drive-in. We had one similar in our home town of Corinth, MS which was called "The Skylark". I enjoyed reading this story about the characters and all their interactions with each other.
Alan Ryan
Feb 10, 2015 Alan Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Growing up in RI in the 1960s, the drive-in theater was a low-cost thing for the family to do. My mother would make popcorn and we'd fill a cooler and off we'd go. This book took me right back to those days, and added in the coolness factor of a family actually living at the drive-in. I actually wrote to the author to find out whether people living in houses behind the screen was a real thing, and it was. An excellent read. I wish Larry Baker were more prolific.
Carol N
Sep 11, 2012 Carol N rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always associated flamingos with air-stream trailers nestled in the quiet of a Florida trailer park and not in the peaceful setting of the bygone days of drive-ins. A clever spin on Romeo and Juliet, this was an insane but funny and innocent romp through the '60's. The character made you both laugh or grief for them. My favorites . . . Alice and Pete, of course. Imagine living in a caboose and always having your living space available to take you from place to place.
Aug 18, 2007 Meg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun, quick read. It was a little irritating at first because the foreshadowing is just so heavy handed and disjointed from the action it is embedded within. Either I got used to this or the author stopped beating us over the head with loaded teasers of the significant events quite so much, because I was able to get past it and enjoy the book. Even despite these teasers, you don't see the climatic plot twist coming until the events leading to it have been set in motion.
Dec 26, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my top books ever! Bizarre, tragic and heartwarming and funny. A great story about families, friends and coming of age. Father Hubert Lee and wife Edna Scott adopt Korean babies born on the same day - Louise and Abraham Isaac. Hubert owns the largest outdoor Dive-In Theater and lives in the tower. He feuds with his neighbor Turner West, owner of a funeral home. Other great characters wowrk at the Drive-in.

Everyone I've loaned the book to has loved it also.
Dale Barlow
Dec 27, 2013 Dale Barlow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
debut novel about a jewish family settling in FL Keys, opening a very vast outdoor movie theater. Really quite entertaining, following the children from young age to 40’s, as told from the son’s perspective. Supposedly not autobiographical. Not sure where I heard about this novel but it’s been on my GoodReads “To Read” list for some time; 1997 hardback via Madison County Public Library, Richmond + finished via my Kindle en route to Hawai’i ; 307 pgs.; 5 out of 5 stars
Ellen Marchessault
I read this book because parents at a suburban Chicago high school objected to having it on the school's summer reading list. According to one parent part of it "was definitely something you could consider X-rated". SHEESH!! This person must only read Frog and Toad books. I hope my book club will consider reading it, as I thought it was wonderful. A coming-of-age story set in the late 60's (I am the same age as the male narrator), with a wallop of an ending.
Notcathy J
Jun 14, 2007 Notcathy J rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"Amazingly bad book. Insipid, unintelligent." Then Cathy put a bracket around the hype stuff, eg: national media appearances, national author tour, etc. and said, " Why the American literary world is going straight to hell". I suppose because they're spending tons of money to hype such a crappy book.
Simon Deimel
Nov 24, 2012 Simon Deimel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great novel about growing up and experiences that life teaches you. I am usually a fan of mystery and horror stories, but I enjoyed it right from the beginning. I love the description of the main characters, they appear colorful and their motives are comprehensible. This is something that every author wants to achieve: a piece of literature.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Barefoot Mailman
  • Windchill Summer
  • Foolscap: Or, The Stages of Love
  • Forever Island and Allapattah
  • Safe from the Neighbors
  • Sugar Cage
  • Gone for Good
  • Sleeping with Schubert
  • Portion of the Sea
  • Es muß nicht immer Kaviar sein
  • Repeat It Today with Tears
  • Eddie's Bastard
  • A Place We Knew Well
  • Night Vision (Jake Lassiter #2)
  • The Day of the Dolphin
  • The Yokota Officers Club
  • The Weight of All Things
  • Because of Winn-Dixie Movie Scrapbook
A rapidly becoming obscure mid-list writer, whose first novel, FLAMINGO RISING, was a Hallmark movie and whose second, ATHENS/AMERICA, is now invisible and unattainable.
My new book, A GOOD MAN, is about drunk radio talk show hosts, food, politics, and the possible Second Coming. It also involves a threesome with Nancy Grace, Ann Coulter, and a fictional right-wing talk show host.
Book is dedicated
More about Larry Baker...

Share This Book