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The Black Flamingo

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4.48  ·  Rating details ·  282 ratings  ·  74 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
...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Expected publication: May 26th 2020 by Balzer + Bray (first published August 8th 2019)
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Average rating 4.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  282 ratings  ·  74 reviews


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Kai
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, owned
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
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Acqua
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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!
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
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Dean_o
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
THIS BOOK DESERVES ALL THE STARS!!

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%
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Lauren James
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtqia, ukya, poc-author
[Gifted]
A beautifully written, empathetic look at a young boy searching for who he really is. Absolutely wonderful.
N
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, lgbt
Definitely recommend, a beautiful story about identity and self-discovery!
Eleanor Grace
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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Lisa
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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.
Triston
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
ashortbooklover
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
Real rating 4.5 stars
Jude
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
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.
Leo
“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
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Mrs Craig
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
Sophie Jackson
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Youandi Woudstra
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'' 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.''

I loved the writing and the lay out of this book.
Short lines with lots of illustrations and powerful poems.

LOVED IT.

It was a story about Micheal who is gay and basically known this his whole life. Through out the book we see him grow up , getting older learn more about life and self acceptance.

He's becoming more and more himself (drag queen).
I think this is such a
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Elizabeth Beverley
Brilliant coming of age novel about exploring identity and sexuality from Dean Atta.

Told in verse, 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 need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers – to show ourselves to the world in bold colour.
Aoife
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, a2, hodder, a6
Told in free verse, this heartfelt story follows Michael from birth to university as he discovers his identity and finds the people who will stand with him. Mixed in is the poetry he writes to try to understand himself and his reactions and those of the people around him. This is a lovely, quick read with beautiful illustrations. This is a story that will stay with you for a long time.

Be aware, there is a lot of discussion of sex and some drugs.



He puts his arm around me and says,
'Don't worry,
...more
Elisabeth
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an experience!
This is a great read which covers lots of different things in a very special way. There are some incredible poems in this book and it feels like they brought me closer to experiences I would never actually have.
Rachael
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt
Beautiful book about identity, masculinity, gender, sexuality and just being yourself, not having all these labels! I enjoyed the story of the main character, how he grew up in the book and his journey through life.
Lauren
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book!!!! I was lucky enough to have been sent an ARC at work and I could not put this book down! The MC Michael is the friend we all need in our lives. I loved his story and how it started at the beginning of his life and then up until his uni life and how he discovers himself and where he feels he fits in and has purpose. It's such a heartwarming read, an LGBTQ+, diverse masterpiece. I love the black Flamingo!
Amy
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, mlm, 2019, arcs, poc-main
4.5 stars!
Cat Q
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish there was a way to give this book to every single person who needs it.
This was fabulous and heartwarming and heartbreaking and so so beautiful.
RTC
Ailsa
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everything about this is just SO beautiful - from the illustrations to the book design to the words and the message. A gorgeous story about being black and gay and not fitting in.
Jen
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you haven’t read a verse novel, and you don’t like poetry, you might wonder if you’ll even like this. I can assure you that you will - it is the best bits of a novel and poetry. The best verse novels mix a brilliant story, realistic characters, and beautiful lyrical words. A verse novel should flow, the poems can be individual but they work together as a story, drawing together a powerful narrative that is easy to read while at the same time punching you with subtle emotion.

The Black Flamingo
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Gabriela Pop
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the absolute best coming of age stories & Such a touching, endearing, thought provoking tale of self discovery and self expression. You get invested in the protagonists' story from the very beginning and spend the whole book rooting for his wellbeing. Dean Atta does wonders exploring the ways young people try to discover and come into themselves. Much like Elizabeth Acevedo's The Poet X,this verse novel focuses heavily on using poetry/spoken word/art -and in this case, more ...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