A review by sauvageloup
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

challenging emotional hopeful informative inspiring reflective sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


I didn't know this was a verse novel going into it, so that was a surprise, but i rly liked it all the same.

- poetic language, with some very good poems and thoughtful writing. it carried the story along quickly, moving through time and settings with no confusion and vividly.
- a very accessible story about lots of complicated ideas around identity, race, gender, christianity, coming of age, etc. it covers a lot of topics without feeling rushed or shallow.
- I was especially interested in the MC's exploration of his mixed race heritage and culture and feelings as a British guy and how being black influenced his queer experience. I didnt know much about that at all so that was very rewarding to read.
- the characters were all interesting and you rooted for them or disliked them depending on the character. some were complicated, like daisy and Rowan and had growth. I liked how it spanned a full 2 decades of life really well. we could see Michael's whole journey from barbie playing child to realised and accepted black gay drag queen.
- interesting also to see a British perspective as other books I've read have had a US one.

- I found the start quite childish in tone. I know it was focused on a child and told from his POV, but the simplistic language felt dull. but i got into it fast and enjoyed the uni sections much more.
- maybe there could have been more depth of background characters, or the book just felt much shorter because of the prose. but I did like it a lot. would have liked to see Michaels and Kieran relationship go further.

overall, a fun, different read from my usual. not prose like I expected but good!

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