Book Reviews

Review: The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

Do you like novels told in poetry? The Black Flamingo is stunning. It’s a story about self-acceptance and self-discovery. If you liked books like The Poet X, this is definitely for you. Keep reading my book review of The Black Flamingo so you can add this to your TBR!

Summary

I masquerade in makeup and feathers and I am applauded.

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.

Review

(Disclaimer: I received this book from Edelweiss. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: homophobia, racism, physical abuse

I immediately fell in love with The Black Flamingo. Told in poetry, there are lines that make you stop. It not only weaves a beautiful story about self-acceptance and questioning one’s identity, it’s lyrical and profound. You can feel the longing and confusion in these words. It maintains a sense of tenderness, of being heart wrenching – feeling like a mistake, or an Outsider – with also moments of discovery and joy. Featuring a biracial MC, The Black Flamingo is both about Michael’s discovery figuring out what spaces he belongs to, but also how his queer identity intersects with his identity as a POC.

I read The Black Flamingo in a day and I’m still shocked at how it manages to encompass such a breadth of emotions. We witness his life from growing up, the ways he doesn’t understand these societal boxes of gender, all the way to his discovery of drag. We see these instances and realize, but to Michael growing up it doesn’t really register until later on. Not only is it written in poetry, Michael also uses poetry himself as a way to express these conflicting emotions.

The intersection of the title and the image of the Black Flamingo is profound. It perfectly sums up the ability of this book to in its simple imagery, profound choices, and gorgeous writing.

Find The Black Flamingo on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.

Discussion

What is your favorite book of poetry?


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