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The Black Flamingo

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  446 ratings  ·  109 reviews
Fiercely told, this is a timely coming-of-age story, told in verse about the journey to self-acceptance. Perfect for fans of Sarah Crossan, Poet X and Orangeboy.

A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen - then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo. A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published August 8th 2019 by Hodder Children's Books
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  • The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
    The Black Flamingo
    Release date: May 26, 2020
    A fierce coming-of-age verse novel about identity and the power of drag, from acclaimed UK poet and performer Dean Atta. Perfect for fans of Elizabeth ...more

    Format: Print book

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    Availability: 5 copies available, 1238 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Feb 04 - Mar 03, 2020

    Countries available: U.S.

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    Community Reviews

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    Average rating 4.46  · 
    Rating details
     ·  446 ratings  ·  109 reviews

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    Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: owned, queer
    who else did not know they needed this drag queen origin story??

    I first saw Dean Atta talk and read at a poetry event in Berlin. I had previously read his poem "How to come out as gay" in the queer anthology Proud (that you should definitely read cause it's perfect and super gay) and couldn't believe my luck when I found out that I would be able to see him perform live. The reading was fascinating and Dean's poetry touched me deeply. He has a way of stringing words together that just made me
    Emer (A Little Haze)
    I haven't loved verse novels in the past. I have found them hard to connect to...
    Until The Black Flamingo.

    Men are sand castles made out of pebbles
    and the bucket is patriarchy: if you remove it,
    we fear we won't be able to hold ourselves
    together, we pour in cement to fill the gaps
    to make ourselves concrete constructions

    This book is truly beautiful.
    It's about understanding your own identity and knowing that you are the one in charge of the terms and conditions of such.

    He is me, who I have
    Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    A beautiful coming-of-age story about a gay biracial black boy as he find his voice through poetry and drag.

    For me, it's always a breath of fresh air to read about marginalized characters who are not from the US. Yes, Michael is British, and it's not difficult to find stories set in England, but stories about marginalized characters in contemporary are overwhelmingly American. In this story, you'll see Michael come to terms with what it means for him to be British and Jamaican and Cypriot; to be
    Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
    I wish literature like this had been around when I was younger.

    A Bildungsroman about Michael, from childhood to fully flocked flamingo, we follow the ups and downs of coming out at school, first crushes, first high heels, first drag. All told through verse. It’s beautiful, powerful and executed perfectly. I fell completely into Michael’s world and the rollercoaster that was his life. The words wrapped me up in Michael’s story and made me care for him and his family and friends more than some
    Lucy Powrie
    A beautiful, seamless verse novel about growing up, coming out, and finding your place in the world. The powerful words are enhanced by Anshika Khullar’s thought-provoking illustrations. Amazing!
    CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
    Raw, vulnerable, and fierce, The Black Flamingo is a coming-of-age poetry book I'll probably never ever forget. Wow, what a book!!

    - Follows Michael, a mixed (Jamaican and Greek-Cypriot) Black teen, as he grows up from a young child to going to university, and how he navigate the intersections of his identities and incredible moments in his life.
    - I'm marveled by how this book explores so many things so tightly without compromising an iota of depth and emotion. This book is packed with emotive
    Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing

    I honestly picked this one up last minute at YALC. I had met Dean Atta the day before and was immediately in love.
    However, I have never really been into poetry.
    I always felt like they were a bunch of pretty words put together to maybe rhyme but most of all sound good.
    "The Black Flamingo" is the first time that I could ever really connect with a piece of poetry, a novel written in verse.

    Now I have to say that I'm neither black nor a cis-man. I will never 100%
    Lauren James
    Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: lgbtqia, ukya, poc-author
    A beautifully written, empathetic look at a young boy searching for who he really is. Absolutely wonderful.
    Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: favourites
    Michael, the main character in The Black Flamingo, deals with racism and exclusion. Michael learns how to find himself as ever since a young age he has not been a ‘male stereotype’. With expectations about who he’s meant to be, Michael joins a drag group and fits right in, although he knows it’s okay to stand out.
    Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    RTC, but let's just say I adored this, and I already can't wait to get my hands on a finished copy and reread it and put sticky tabs all over it.

    CWs: physical abuse, absent father, racism, homophobia, drug use, alcohol consumption, bullying, toxic masculinity
    Kate (GirlReading)
    This is without a doubt one of the most beautifully portrayed coming of age stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It delves into the nuances of self discovery, acceptance, expression and identity in such an endearing and accessible way. I was truly captivated, so much so that I devoured this in one sitting, unable and unwilling to put it down.

    TW: racism, homophobia, homophobic slurs.
    Megan Ashcroft
    Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: young-adult, lgbt
    Definitely recommend, a beautiful story about identity and self-discovery!
    Eleanor Grace
    Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    This book was so beautiful and powerful. So glad I picked this up, even though it’s totally different from my usual reads. I loved it wholeheartedly.
    Alfie Rowland
    Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I was unfamiliar with Dean Atta’s work until I read Stripes’ Proud anthology earlier in the year and his contribution of ‘How To Come Out As Gay‘ was absolute standout for me. It’s probably one of the only poems that has ever spoken to me and made me cry (I’m not poetically cultured). When I saw that he was bringing out a full length novel told in verse I knew I had to have it – thank you to my friend Bella who gave me her early copy.

    The Black Flamingo follows Michael a half Greek-Cypriot, half
    “So who is The Black Flamingo?” asks Katy with genuine curiosity.
    I reply,
    “He is me, who I have been, who I am, who I hope to become. Someone fabulous, wild and strong. With or without a costume on.”

    Actual rating: 4.5

    Calling this book a coming of age story might be a simplification, because despite being a coming of age story The Black Flamingo is so much more.

    Told in verse, The Black Flamingo follows Michael in his journey towards becoming himself. Michael is a boy who believes he doesn't
    Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan South Africa for sending me a copy of this freaking beautiful masterpiece!

    I want to start off with, this book is amazing! I have not read many books written in verse, but I love poetry and have desperately been wanting to get more into it. So this book is entirely written in verse, and it was so good!

    We follow our main character Michael and we watch as he grows and develops throughout childhood all the way to college, grappling with familial struggle, internal
    May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    "Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers - to show ourselves to the world in bold colour."

    And this verse novel does all of that and more. Beautiful, bold and brilliant.
    Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: young-adult, poetry
    There are so many passages I want to quote from *The Black Flamingo*, a book I picked up after it was awarded The Library Association's Stonewall Award last month.

    And friends, let me tell you, it's so good! So affirming of gender and sexuality identities, of the beauty in being different, of owning your body.

    "The Black Flamingo looks in the mirror of the salt lake's surface and doesn't understand why a shadow stares back at him. He doesn't look like the other flamingos around him, he feels
    Tom (T.J. Reads the Stars)
    A really powerful introspective coming out story which discussed some really important topics such as identity, internalised racism, homophobia and masculinity. However, the book felt very self-indulgent to read at times and my main issue being that the relationships between the characters were not as in-depth as Dean Atta was clearly trying to make them. This may have been an unfortunate result of the often restricting verse format. Nevertheless, so glad this books exists and it has an ...more
    Mary Adeson
    Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: young-adult, glbt, poetry
    The Black Flamingo is a bonus book, it’s a coming of age novel where you experience Mikey spreading his wings to define his identity. Plus Atta has provided poems in the form of extracts from Mikey’s notebooks, I felt as if I had a front row seat witnessing Mikey discover his voice. Not to mention to the artwork through the characters.

    My favourite scenes are from chapters “Barbies and Belonging” and “Glitter Ball”. In the respective scenes Mikey’s mother explains the importance of never

    Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
    Shelves: library
    I'm glad I gave this book a go, even thought it's definitely not my usual cup of tea. This is told in verse, which I usually avoid like the plague, but decided to give it a chance. I flew through the first 15o pages, and enjoyed the story of Michael's childhood, and him coming to terms with his identity. Following Michael's move to University, I lost touch with the story a little. I think this must just be because I cannot empathise with Michael's character, sharing none of his experiences.
    Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    4.5 stars. So beautiful and powerful! I need to spend some time reflecting before writing my thoughts down!
    Robin Stevens
    Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    A beautifully-crafted, heartfelt verse novel - this is a stunning debut from Dean Atta. (12+)

    *Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. If you use it in any marketing material, online or anywhere on a published book without asking permission from me first, I will ask you to remove that use immediately. Thank you!*
    Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Michael, the main character, has had male stereotypes and expectations thrust on him his whole life but, when he attends university and discovers the drag club, he finds the people he best fits in with.
    "Black Flamingo" contains lots of messages about gender, identity, self-discovery, acceptance of everyone etc. It is written in verse form and is a great read.
    Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: read-in-2019
    First of all, this is such a stunning cover and the naked hardback complements it perfectly. But don’t worry, the story contained within this beautiful cover is just as brilliant.

    This is a tale about finding your place in the world, growing up and coming out. Michael struggles with this even more as a gay, mixed-race man and I really liked how Atta explored the intersections of these facets of Michael, especially how communities that are meant to support you can be divisive because of other
    Mrs Craig
    Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
    I had high hopes for this book but it just did not work for me. The story was overtaken by the messages in the text. A few lovely passages of verse though
    Grace (Lost Girl of Neverland)
    I’ve finally read a book told in verse that I actually enjoy.

    The Black Flamingo follows Michael from when he was a baby all the way to him in university. It’s a story of discovery, of not feeling enough and finding identity. It’s for anyone that’s ever felt unsure about who they are.

    Michael was a brilliant protagonist. Definitely not perfect and didn’t always say the right thing but was always real. I loved seeing him bloom and progress.

    I wrote on my Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda review that I
    Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: poetry
    The first Young Adult verse novel in Dean Atta's catalogue, feels like a warm hug to my inner child, inner teenager, inner baby queer.

    We grow through over 300 pages (over three hours as an audiobook — you must listen to the poets read their work whenever you can) along Michael's journey of self-discovery within his family, his school(s) and university, and the world we share together. Through friendships, heartbreak and ignorance from the people surrounding him, and our own ignorance, as he is
    Emma Ferrier
    This book came to my attention when my friend shoved a copy in to my arms and told me to buy it. This was three days ago and I vowed to make it my first read of 2020, which it was, and I just knew I'd love it, which I did.

    The Black Flamingo is a novel in verse (my favouriteeeee) which follows our main character's journey of discovering themselves and also becoming themselves.

    I'll admit the poetry style wasn't my absolute favourite but I did enjoy the actual story and the way it was told. I
    Sophie Jackson
    Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    The Black Flamingo written in verse by @deanatta is a beautifully bold coming-of-of age story that gives a whole new perspective on what it means to be seen as different at the level of race, culture, identity, heritage and gender. Its about discovering that only you get the privilege of choosing who you are, the power of embracing what makes you unique and finding your inner strength. A true celebratory message that everyone needs to hear “Remember you have the right to be you” ...more
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    Dean was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize for his debut poetry collection, I Am Nobody’s Nigger. His poems have been anthologised by Bad Betty Press, Emma Press, Stripes Publishing, Team Angelica and have appeared on BBC One, BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service and Channel 4. Dean was named as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK by the Independent on Sunday. He regularly ...more