The Black Flamingo
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 Acevedo, Jason Reynolds, and Kacen Callender.
Michael is a mixed-race gay teen growing up in London. All his life, he’s navigated what it means to be Greek-Cypriot and Jamaican—but never quite feeling Greek or Black enou...more
*Update I reread this because I had listened to the audiobook the first time and then found out there were illustrations in it and I'm sooo glad I did ...more
wow... just wow. READ THIS BOOK. it's incredible and 100% one of my favourite books of the year. ...more
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 wan ...more
I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH!!!!
The Black Flamingo is a novel written in verse. My first. Going in, I was concerned.
I wanted to read it because of the subject matter, but I just wasn't sure if the format would work for me.
My experience with poetry, of any sort, is limited, and those experiences I have had, were not great. My mind just generally doesn't work that way.
Maybe I'm too literal, but I t ...more
This was a stunning book!
“You are a full human being. It's never as simple as being half and half.”
We follow Michael as he grows from a child to a teenager to a young adult. We are right with him when he takes his first tentative steps towards adulthood and finding his identity.
This book is a fairy tale in which I am the prince and the princess.This was one of my very first verse novels and I don't think I got the full effect by listening t ...more
I am the king and the queen.
Come out for yourself.
Come out to yourself
This book was such an impactful read for me and the epilogue had me sobbing with how much I resonated with everything being said. This is an amazing book that deals with a coming of age LGBTQIA+ main character. It deals with race, racism, gender identity, sexuality, drag, internalized homophobia and homophobia. It is definitely a deep book but it does have lighthearted, loving moments. I would ...more
Michael is a half-Jamaican, half Greek Cypriot boy growing up in London. He realizes early on that being mixed-race makes him different, as he’s not black enough for some in his family and not Greek enough for others.
He also knows he’d rather play with dolls and his female friends, and kiss the boys. After some ridicule by his peers he finds a way to get by, and he forms a close friendship with Daisy ...more
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 hav...more
It follows Michael from being a very small child till a late-teen in university (set in London!) and him discove ...more
"This book is a fairy tale
in which I am the prince and the princess.
I am the king and the queen.
I am my own wicked
witch and fairy godmother."
Wow this book was just wow. It is such an amaing book that everyone should read it.
This book follows this mixed race gay boy who comes to accept his identity as a drag artist called The Black Flamingo.
"I can’t be your friend without calling this out. Your ignorance may be innocent but the racism is real."
I loved how this book cha ...more
this was so touching and relatable even though I’m not going through the same problems I just ❤️ so much love
I love that they paid homage to the drag community.
"Your ignorance may be innocent but the racism is real."
— overall: 4.75 —
The plot doesn’t go very in depth as it is written in verse but I think that it was actually the best device to write the story, it focused on all the right parts. Fast paced and overall just an incredible journey that spans highschool through col ...more
First of all, it's a book in verse.
Second, it has awesome poetry content in between.
Third, the illustration is just amazing!
But what got me the most was the narration which is heartfelt, piercing, meaningful and wholesome.
I have read some coming of age, young adult queer LGBTQ plus fiction and non-fiction but this one stands out as something very close to heart and it almost reads to me like a biographical fiction.
It is the first time for me to read about the Drag ...more
Books told in verse nearly always leave a great impact on me. The Black Flamingo was no exception.
~★~ What is this book about? ~★~
Michael is a mixed race gay teen who’s father left when he was young. We follow Michael from age six to nineteen as he navigates his identity and the stigma surrounding his skin colour and queerness. It isn’t until university that Michael discovers drag, though when he does its as if he can truly embrace wh ...more
The Black Flamingo totally shocked me. First it shocked me because I bought it and didn't realize it was written in verse. Then it shocked me because I read it in one sitting. And then it shocked me at how amazing it was—which shouldn't have been shocking, but to be honest as it was my first verse novel and I'm NOT a fan of poetry, I thought that ...more
So short, but such a powerful read. I listened to the audio of this and love the different snippets we got of Michael's life from elementary school to when he's in college. I felt so connected to Michael from page one as he is trying to understand his identity in a world that's not the most accepting. I loved it and only wish it were a bit longer so we could see Michael as he continued to grow and understand his identity! ...more
Touching, meaningful, and charming.
And just 3 hrs and 40 mins long. Quick and endearing - perfect for a Saturday afternoon.
Full review to come....
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I have never read such a book in this format before. After a chapter I got so used to it I loved it. Especially with the pages that had illustrations on it, and variable page colours going from white to black. I can understand why that was done. Fabulous touch.
This is Michaels story.
The comparisons he makes to his confusion about himself is also about the confusion of those aro ...more
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 ...more
- 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 ve ...more
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 50 ...more
Written in verse, this tells the story of Michael, a half Jamaican, half Greek-Cyprian boy, who prefers to play with barbies over Ninja Turtles. He's always known he was different and through these poems, he explores what that meant growing up, trying to find his tribe, the heartbreaks and betrayals and expression.
The Black Flamingo is, at its core, a love letter to the differences in you that make you stand out. Tha ...more
➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[racism & racial slurs, sexism and gender roles discussed, homomisia, internalised homomisia & homomisic slurs, lesbomisia & internalised lesbomisia discussed, coming out themes, alcohol consumption, recreational drug use, emesis, bullying, dubcon situation*, parental abandonment, physical parental abuse (single act), physical assault (minor fights scenes), and poverty themes.
Note: the protagonist meets an older man on a dating ...more
Don’t come out unless you want to. Don’t come out for anyone else’s sake. Don’t come out because you think society expects you to.
Come out for yourself.
Come out to yourself.
Shout, sing it.
Correct those who say they knew before you did.
That’s not how sexuality works, it’s yours to define.”