The Black Flamingo
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 need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers - to show ourselves to the world in bold colour.*I masquerade in makeup and feathers and I am applauded.*

The Black Flamingo Details

TitleThe Black Flamingo
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 8th, 2019
PublisherHodder Children's Books
ISBN-139781444948585
Rating
GenrePoetry, Young Adult, LGBT, GLBT, Queer

The Black Flamingo Review

  • Kai
    January 1, 1970
    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 wan 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 want to keep listening forever.The Black Flamingo is a YA novel written in verse. It tells the story of Michael, a half Jamaican, half Greek-Cyprian boy growing up in the UK. From an early age, he is more interested in barbies and singing than is usually deemed acceptable by a society that strives on toxic masculinity, but his mother takes him as he is. As he gets older, Michael tries to find out who he is and where he fits in but he struggles - mainly because he is gay and mixed-raced. Only at university, when he discovers the Drag Society, he finally feels seen, confident, and fierce. But between his childhood and his first drag performance on stage, he will go through heartbreak, dream of fame and cute boys, make and lose friends, and experience the bittersweet and exciting years of growing up.The book is a celebration of youth and love, but most of all of blackness and queerness. It is a beautiful, light read that touches on quiet truths and deep emotions. Once or twice I got a bit teary and had goosebumps. Here is one short poem that I particularly liked, just to give you an example of what to expect:Men are sandcastles made out of pebblesand the bucket is patriarchy: if you remove itwe fear we won't be able to hold ourselvestogether, we pour cement to fill the gapsto make ourselves concrete constructions.Find more of my books on Instagram
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  • Acqua
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 all of these things and also a gay man, one who wants to be a drag artist. It's a really emotional journey, one I would really recommend to everyone who liked The Poet X. The poems in here were so beautiful, especially the ones about biracial and multicultural identity not being made of halves, about best friends being the ones who can hurt you the most with their internalized homophobia and racism (House of Mirrors. That hurt so much), about toxic masculinity, and the final one about coming out.I also thought that the way this book focused on family relationships - Michael's somewhat complicated relationship with his mother, who accepts him but still messes up; Michael's nonexistent relationship with his father; his connection with his uncle and grandmother on his father's side - and friendships was something that isn't as common as it should be in YA. Daisy's (his best friend) storyline was probably my favorite part of the book.I also really liked the flamingo symbolism, and all the illustrations.
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  • Dean_o
    January 1, 1970
    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% kno 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% know how it is to be either of those things. But literature like this helps so much in understanding people of a different background. Most importantly what this book did for me was to realize that we're all not that different.The character in this book experienced a lot of things that I always thought exclusive to my trans experience. I thought I was having these thoughts because I'm trans. Turns out that's not true! Some of those thoughts are there because I'm gay, some of them because I'm a guy and some of them don't even need a source to be valid.So thank you to the lovely lady at the Waterstones stand at YALC who so enthusiastically recommended this book to me especially after she found out that I'm also called Dean. This is one that I will reread and cherish forever.
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  • Kate (GirlReading)
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Megan Ashcroft
    January 1, 1970
    Definitely recommend, a beautiful story about identity and self-discovery!
  • Alfie Rowland
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 Jamaican boy growing up in London. The story starts when Michael is six and starts to realise that he isn’t the same as other boys his age and would much rather be given Barbies for his birthday than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. His white-passing single mum loves him for who he is but knows she must shelter him from the harsh realities that face can face a person of colour, especially one who enjoys things out of the norm like playing mums and dads with his male friends or going to singing classes.As Michael grows he starts to realise that maybe he just doesn’t fit in at all. Too black for white people, too white for black people, too black to be a Greek-Cypriot and so on. He starts to close himself off from other people his age, leading to him only having one true friend and becoming the target of bullying in a school that venerates playing sports and fighting. We follow Michael right up to being nineteen has he goes on a journey to discover his true self which may or may not involve finding his wings and transforming into a drag queen known as The Black Flamingo.This story was absolutely raw and written right from the author’s own experiences, everything that Michael went through was completely believable. I loved Michael, even when he was being Mikey to his family, Mike to his university friends or Michaelis to his Cypriot family because he always stayed true to himself. A lot of books featuring gay character go through a phase or section where they try to ignore their gay side or try to be straight but Michael knew he was gay and was not ashamed. Michael’s difficulties lay in the fact that he fell into too many minority groups to belong to even just one of them. This is what kept me really rooting for him the whole way through.[Continue Reading]
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    "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.
  • Leo
    January 1, 1970
    Actual rating: 4.5☆I’m on the train and I’m crying. This is one of those books that needs to be read. It doesn’t matter if you’re black, mixed, white, queer or straight.Read this book. RtC.
  • ashortbooklover
    January 1, 1970
    Real rating 4.5 stars
  • Elizabeth Beverley
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Aoife
    January 1, 1970
    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, yo 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, you can't score every timebut you still gotta take the shot.Respect for taking the risk, bro.I've got a question for you: why did youask out the whitest boy in school?Why not give a brother a chance?'I laugh, through my tears. 'You're funny.''Yeah,' Kieran sighs, 'so are you.I should go but if anyone gives you any trouble,you let me know.'He squeezes my shoulder,walks to the door.
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  • Anniek
    January 1, 1970
    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
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  • Rachael
    January 1, 1970
    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
    January 1, 1970
    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!
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars!
  • Cat Q
    January 1, 1970
    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
  • Mrs Craig
    January 1, 1970
    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
  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 tells the story of Michael, from being a very young child to his time at university. It takes us on a journey about Michael navigating through the world, trying to find his place and what his identity is. It’s about a young man trying to work out what his space in the world is and learning that he has a right to take up space in the world. Michael is a mixed-race gay young man, who, when he is at university, really starts to find his place as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo.This novel is powerful, emotional, realistic, and magical at the same time. It is a story that stays with you long after the last page and I simply adored every second of it. This is the drag teen story you’ve been waiting for!
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  • Gabriela Pop
    January 1, 1970
    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 particular 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 particularly, drag - as both a coping mechanism and form of self expression. Could not recommend this more!
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  • Gemma
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this coming of age story. It gave me a perspective very different from my own. This will make a good addition to the library, giving others the chance to see themselves within this book. I cannot wait to go out and find a finished copy as it looks like it is going to be beautiful and I expect seeing the illustrations in full will really add to the reading experience.(ARC provided by publishers through Netgalley)
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  • Caroline
    January 1, 1970
    This book tells the story of Michael, a mixed race gay teenager who first needs to come out as gay and have himself accepted and then he finds the drag society at University and realises that his journey is still to be completed. When Michael raps one of his poems in drag he finally feels fulfilled. A great story, told in verse, with a unique POV. A good addition to your school library LGBT+ shelves.
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  • Luna Cr
    January 1, 1970
    I don't know if Dean Atta will ever read this but you are a beautiful human, your poetry is full and powerful, your books give me so much life and joy and I will follow your career whatever you publish. You left me today with a silly smile in the train and wanting to see you performing your poetry. You are an example of the future that I want to live in, you speak like I think. And you have made me feel all the emotions. Thank you.
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  • Francesca
    January 1, 1970
    Don't normally read poetry-format novels and didn't realise what this was until I was reading it - but I really enjoyed it! Loved following Michael and his family, and the poetic format was way easier to get along with that I expected (testament to the author, I think). Really recommend this to anyone looking for a quality LGBT novel with BAME characters, or who just really enjoys poetry.
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  • Becca
    January 1, 1970
    I was expecting this book to be good, but it completely blew me away. The writing is beautiful, filled with empathy and insight. The moments where Michael finds increasing confidence in his identity are glorious, triumphant - this is the kind of book you want to celebrate and share with everyone you know.
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  • E
    January 1, 1970
    5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ or can I even rate this?This in important read, every couple of passages said things that were too real, too true, too everything, but oh so so important. I don’t know if I can even speak about the topics handled in this, as growing up as a white girl, I did not have to face anything remotely like this. I have no words. Just read this. 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ or can I even rate this?This in important read, every couple of passages said things that were too real, too true, too everything, but oh so so important. I don’t know if I can even speak about the topics handled in this, as growing up as a white girl, I did not have to face anything remotely like this. I have no words. Just read this.
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  • zara
    January 1, 1970
    i want dean atta to narrate my life experiences now.seriously this book is so SOFT, deals with so many racial issues in such a realistic way that makes you challenge your privilege and weaves the most intricately flawed characters with the most irresistible figures of language that make you read the whole page back.
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  • Jude
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Kate Henderson
    January 1, 1970
    Really loved this book.Read in one sitting! It’s amazing how such a little book packs such a big punch. So much happens and so much love for the central character. Illustrations are beautiful too. Will definitely check out the authors other books!
  • James Cross
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. Just finished what is now my favourite book of the year so far - The Black Flamingo by @deanatta .A book of verse, prose and power, this is the perfect tale of recognising and owning your identity. The wise, lyrical, achingly funny words and imagery perfectly capture what it is to stand out, to search for yourself in others and to find your centre. Some of Michael's internal thoughts about growing up LGBTQ+ are so spot on its uncomfortable. It also provides a window into his racial identity Wow. Just finished what is now my favourite book of the year so far - The Black Flamingo by @deanatta .A book of verse, prose and power, this is the perfect tale of recognising and owning your identity. The wise, lyrical, achingly funny words and imagery perfectly capture what it is to stand out, to search for yourself in others and to find your centre. Some of Michael's internal thoughts about growing up LGBTQ+ are so spot on its uncomfortable. It also provides a window into his racial identity, a poignant emotional, look through a window I can never hope to fully understand.It's why #ownvoices are so important.The only response to such an affecting book is to say thank you.Can't wait to buy a proper copy to replace my netgalley review edition!Full review on the @rogansbooks shop site and socials closer to release... @hachettebooks @hachettekids #theblackflamingo #pride @qyouthbedford #lgbtq
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  • Chrys
    January 1, 1970
    Bold, beautiful and empowering. I loved the way that this was written, and I'm really looking forward to seeing the fully illustrated version when it's published. A must read for everyone about being your best self and being fierce.
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