What I liked in particular about Atta’s storytelling was the raw honesty of a character growing up and learning about themselves and the world around them. We jibe at teenagers when they think the world is ending because they got their heart broken, but we’ve all been there, and actually growing up is when you feel more acutely so many emotions; love, pain, heartache, anger – they’re all heighten and this is perfectly encapsulated in The Black Flamingo.
9.4Beautiful, Captivating, Empowering
The Black Flamingo is a coming of age book written in verse and follows Michael as he grows up and comes to terms with his identity. Being gay and mixed race, the more he is exposed to the world, the more he feels it wasn’t made for him. When he gets to university however, he joins the drag society and finds more freedom in being himself there than ever before.
This book was quite simply stunning – I’ve not read many books written in verse (though I was pleasantly surprised with Elizabeth Acevedo’s Clap When you Land last year) so I was looking forward to this, though always hesitant when a book’s not in prose. However, just like with CWYL, Atta’s book was easy to follow and the style made the beauty and emotion of it really stand out.
Be a beautiful thing.
Be the moonlight, too.
Remember you have the right to be proud.
Remember you have the right to be you.
Title: The Black Flamingo
Author: Dean Atta
TW: Homophobia, Racism, Sexism, Violence,
Atta fiercely covers topics such as gender identity, race, and sexuality, and I can only imagine what good this book would do in the hands of a young adult struggling with their own identity. It’s a love letter to the human form and the beauty of what it means to be young and sure of yourself. Here’s a snippet to whet your appetite and convince you get yourself a copy…