The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Summary: 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 have discovered recently that I really love books written in verse. When they are well written that is, and The Black Flamingo is really well written.
The Black Flamingo follows Michael who is half Jamaican and half Greek Cypriot who’s growing up in London, England.
You follow Michael from childhood to his time at University. As a kid he realizes he really wants a Barbie instead of a Ninja Turtle. He realizes very early on that he’s gay. He has a lovely friendship with Daisy and they grow up together and learn who they are.
Michael is an incredible main character. While the story surrounds his coming out, I think it also focuses on him struggling to figure out who he is. When some people think he’s not Black enough and others may think he’s not Greek enough, it makes the path to discovering who he is a little more complicated.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you are half anything…
You are a full human being. It’s never as simple as being half and half.“
Michael really comes into his own once he gets to University and starts participating in Drag shows. He finds how to love himself and not to care so much about what other people have to say about him.
I loved this story. Michael is amazing and this book is powerful in so many ways. I highly recommend it. Especially for any young person who feels like they don’t quite fit in or are on a path to discovering who they are.
I gave this book 5 out 5 metal horns!