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 enough.
As he gets older, Michael’s coming out is only the start of learning who he is and where he fits in. When he discovers the Drag Society, he finally finds where he belongs—and the Black Flamingo is born.
Told with raw honesty, insight, and lyricism, this debut explores the layers of identity that make us who we are—and allow us to shine.
CW: Profanity, LGBT content, racism.
I admit, I don’t read a lot of books where the main character is LGBT. Not because I don’t choose to read them, but because I don’t seem to find too many that I can get into enough to read the entire book. That clearly was not the case with The Black Flamingo.
I actually adored Michael. He knew he was mixed race and wondered why it seemed so many others who were mixed didn’t acknowledge it. He was looking for his identity, trying to figure out who he is and who he truly wants to be. This becomes especially evident when he goes to college, where he tries out several things before settling into his niche – DRAG.
This book is lyrical and written almost in a poetry style. You can tell that the majority of the book is prose, but the formatting makes it seem more like poetry. There is poetry scattered throughout the book and it was beautiful. I found myself wanting to know when the next poem would show up.
When I read this book, it took me three days, but only a total of 2 hours and 14 minutes according to my Kindle app to go from the start to the finish of the book, which it said the average read time is around 9 hours and 30 minutes. So it is a very quick read and a very good read.
If you are looking for LGBT books for pride month, as well as black authors, and books with black/mixed main characters, you should pick this book up as it meets all of the above requirements. I’m definitely going to have to pick up more of Dean Atta’s work as he is an excellent writer.