To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
"Men are sandcastles made out of pebbles and the bucket is patriarchy: if you remove it, we fear we won’t be able to hold ourselves together, we pour in cement to fill the gaps to make ourselves concrete constructions"
Before going into this book, I admit I didn't know what to expect but knew drag played a vital role in our protagonist's story.
After reading it, I'm shooketh and would recommend everyone to read it.
This is a beautiful YA book, written in poetic prose format, about Micheal, a black queer boy who's half Greek-Cypriot & half Jamaican, growing up in the UK, coming to terms with his sexuality & trying to figure out where he fits.
The book will take you on a multifaceted journey through his childhood until he reaches university, exploring various themes like discovering your identity, coming to terms with one's sexuality, losing & gaining friends, toxic masculinity, racism, internalised homophobia, trying to accept different sides of your family & heritage & body image issues.
"They interrupt our joy. Our history. Our progress. They know they can't stop us unless they kill us but they can't kill us all, so you're living your life and suddenly interrupted by white fear or suspicion. They fear sharing anything. Our success is a threat."
The thing that I really liked was that the author didn't shout about any instance; he very subtly covered just about everything that plagues our "modern"society.
It's raw, insightful & a book you don't realise until later how much you really needed. It's emotional, flawed, joyous, heartbreaking & you really wanna punch some of the characters at times.
It has text messages & poems written by Micheal, which grow even more profound as he grows up.
We see him becoming a confident & fierce man as he embraces drag.
I also loved his relationship with his mom and step sister. It was just so Wholesome and how they both accept him the way he is is so pure and supportive 🥰.
"I’ve been friendly. I’ve been frightened. I’ve been fake. But I’ve never been fierce. I’ve been frustrated. I’ve been forgotten. I’ve been forgiving. But I’ve never been fierce. I wanna be fabulous. I wanna be flamboyant. I wanna flaunt what I’ve got. I want to be fierce."
'You are a full human being. It's never as simple as being half and half.'
My last read was the much talked about book- 'The black flamingo' by Dean Atta which I trust is totally worth every praise. The book celebrates blackness, queerness and individuality in a unique way though the protagonist, Michael who's Greek-Cypriot & half Jamaican, growing up in the UK.
At the same time it tackles the difficulties of being back and queer at the same time. The book is more like a memoir in poetic prose- sharp, intriguing, witty and really captivating. The plot is perfect and at no point will the story go astray. Written from first person prespective - it portrays blackness and individuality wonderfully through the idea of a black flamingo among many other pink ones.
Throughout the book we go through Michael's journey of learning to be himself from childhood to school to University despite the weird world around. It portrays supportive friends, family, mixed culture, toxic musculanity, homophobic groups and racism. More specifically it portrays unknown racism and homophobia through the people who are the closest to us.
'To have a loving family is to feel afraid and yet believe you are going to be all right'
'Your ignorance may be innocent but the racism is real. I want both of you to think about how what you said might make me feel'
"When a black person says they're into white people that's internalised racism. When a white person says they're only into black people that's fetishisation, which is also a form of racism."
Michael wants a Barbie for his 6th birthday. He is fully aware of his sexuality but is yet to venture into a world where a certain section of the society thrives on shaming the LGBTQ community as a whole. His sense of observation is acute, but right from childhood, he is this big ball of sunshine. Michael adds colours to this story that is otherwise one of homophobia and disrespect.
Michael joins the drag society in his college and his enthusiasm gives readers life and hope. He meets people who shame him or lift him up. He has his own moments of disappointment and betrayal but he also has people around him who give him the necessary strength to go on and follow his dreams.
This is one of the best books if you are looking for a BiPOC representation. Atta is brutal but sweetly so. It makes you believe in the fact that even if you are unsure of who you are, you still deserve a place in this world with everyone else. And that, if you decide to come out, do it for yourself and on your own terms.
"Be a beautiful thing. Be the moonlight, too. Remember you have the right to be proud. Remember you have the right to be you."
The emotions in the novel flows just like the verse form in which it is written. This book broke a lot of sat rules and re-invented the word "queer" for me. It made me questio What does it really mean? Why does it have to be this way ? And the answer I got was that we are all Different. So different from each and every one around us. . This book doens't only represent a Queer Mixed race boy , it represents everyone of us. It represents Growing up, Life, Gender, Racism, Self Identity, Sexual Orientation, Family. Love, Anger, Desire , Dreams, Hope, Happiness and US ! . The story revolves around Michael and his life. We follow him from the time he is little till he is in university. The coming of the age aspect was beautiful and realistic. It respected the angst and the constant confusions about life instead of buttering it up with unnecessary love interests that makes life easier, because it doesn't! . Another noteworthy aspect would be the inclusion of DRAG in the book. It's something I personally wasn't much aware of. But now I know how natural and beautiful this form of performing is! Even though it wasn't the key theme it did play a huge rule in bringing out Michael or " The Black Flamingo "❤️ . In the end we all are waiting to unleash our own BLACK FLAMINGO! . The audiobook is narrated by the author who also has a YouTube video where he narrates extracts from the book and becomes The Black Flamingo (swipe to see his beautiful picture!) The book has gorgeous illustrations too😍 you can't miss them!
I have never read such a book in this format before. After a chapter I got so used to it I loved it. Especially with the pages that had illustrations on it, and variable page colours going from white to black. I can understand why that was done. Fabulous touch.
This is Michaels story.
The comparisons he makes to his confusion about himself is also about the confusion of those around him. Likening himself to a “bad egg” an experiment where people are waiting to see what hatched from the shell. I found that quite poignant.
I loved his mother! As he’s growing up, someone in school pointed out that his sister was his ‘half’ sister as they had different dads. When he referred this to his mother she said “ don’t let anyone tell you that you are half Of anything. She simply is your sister. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are half black, half white, half Cypriot half Jamaican you are a full human being. You are born in Britain you need to make space for that. This is only for you to decide.
There are so many things like this that stood out me. My annotations on this book was in overload!
I especially loved and enjoyed the letters or poems that were displayed on pages, the text messages to friends and later to his love interest.
Daisy has been his friend since......forever.
His first love.
His mingling with the gay scene. With Daisies witty comments of “protect me from the lesbians” this showed me how things could be said without hate or intension to offend, just witty. I then thought about todays Black movement. White shouldn’t need to walk on eggshells and our black friend and people of colour or diverse sexual orientation do not always need to be defensive.
BUT, it was GREAT to see Michael grow to not just be fierce but to stand up for himself, his rights. To challenge others.
Michael who was in a huge shell partially cracked himself through into the world, peeping out, seeing what was out there. Hatching into a beautiful bright pink human being.
I loved his drag queen chapters. Funny, witty and also a learning curve of..... He was now free to be himself. The right everyone should have and own.
THE BLACK FLAMINGO was a beautiful, real story told with grit. A coming of age, coming out, all while being black story. What felt unique to me about this story and different to other coming-out stories was that it started in young childhood. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t linger for ages in that age-range but it depicted Michael’s experiences from a young age and I loved that.
Michael’s blackness and the experience of having Greek/Cypriot mother and black father who deserted them was fresh and insightful reading. Michael’s own realisations about the colour of his skin alongside his sexuality were thought-provoking and poignant. Seeing Michael become his true self, cast off other people’s presumptions and eventually being drawn to drag was absorbing reading.
The story was told in verse that was incredibly engaging. In addition, Michael was a poet and so there were poems peppered throughout the book. In particular, I loved Maybe I’m a Merman and I Wanna Be Fierce. The book was illustrated and formatted in a way that enhanced the reading process (or should have done, see my next paragraph).
I bought the ebook for this read and unfortunately there was a problem with the text formatting, nearly every single page of the 300+ pages had a problem with text doubling over itself. I went to report it on amazon but I could see that it is not currently for sale and under review; this surely means they know about the problem and it’s being fixed.
THE BLACK FLAMINGO was a quick but impactful read that was inspirational. Dean Atta has a fresh narrative voice and he is a gifted poet. I’d definitely recommend this read.
This book touches on so many topics and has so much emotion that I picked it up and didn’t put it down again until I had finished. The book is about Michael and his life and all the conflicts he sees from, gender inequality to racism, bigotry and homophobia. He spends his life feeling like he doesn’t quiet fit anywhere. This book opened my eyes to so many things including how decisions as a parent, even made with good intentions can cause a child to feel left out of their heritage and how, for a black person, there is levels of black so when he goes to join the African Caribbean Society they tell him he is not black he is mixed, is it any wonder he feels like he doesn’t belong? I can’t even imagine someone saying I wasn’t white enough for a group which just shows how privileged I have been in my life. The author isn’t afraid to have his character admit to having his own preconceived notions about things and the poem ‘Some men have vaginas’ really hit home for me. The speech that Michael makes as the Black Flamingo at the end of this book absolutely phenomenal and you should get this book just for that!! I definitely recommend this to anyone and everyone and will be keeping on my shelves for my sons to read when they grow up.
'Be a beautiful thing Be the moonlight, too. Remember you have the right to be proud. Remember you have the right to be you.'
This book is written is verse and is beautiful and powerful and poignant and heartbreaking. And at it's core this is a book about identity and acceptance.
The book follows Michael as he grows up and eventually goes off to university. Michael is a mixed race gay man struggling to find acceptance from the outside world and from within. He eventually finds the place where he can be 100% himself - the University Drag Club.
This book has so so many important takes on what is means to be a man, the gay identity, friendships, belonging, family and race and it leaves you feeling completely raw after reading it.
At every turn you feel so deeply for Michael and how so many events in his life don't go as he planned. The whole way through you just want to give him a hug.
I also really liked how this book is told from a British perspective. We now have a lot more own voices books being released by black authors but a good deal of those books are from US authors and I think some of the language and humour and identity issues resonated with me a bit more in this book because I am also British.
When I finished this book, I had tears in my eyes and I actually clapped. The final poem especially was an experience. I have so much love for Dean Atta and Michael and I'm so excited for their next book.
This book is something to have to experience for yourself so no words can really do it justice. I will just say this is a Must Read.
This is quite a recent love for me but it is a fierce and burning love that I can't see going away any time soon. The Black Flamingo is a novel written in verse that tracks the life of Michael, who is half Jamaican and half Greek-Cypriot, from when he is a baby all the way to when he is at University and discovers the sheer magic of drag. It is a journey of self-discovery and identity, a celebration of queerness and finding power within yourself. It is honestly one of the best books I have ever read in my life and if you've not got it on your TBR already, you're doing life wrong.
Who is the black flamingo? ✨”He is me, who I have been, who I am, who I hope to become. Someone fabulous, wild and strong. With or without a costume on.” ✨
What an incredible book!!
This is an own voices story of Michael, a young, gay, Black man growing up in the UK. It recounts his childhood through to his university experiences and was so wonderful.
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that’s written in verse before but I loved it and it was so beautiful. I devoured this book in one day as the writing was so lyrical and the storyline so captivating and interesting.
It dealt with so many important issues such as race, sexuality and gender, in such a sensitive and informative way. Own voices truly is the best way to express stories such as these. One quote that really got to me was one from Michael’s uncle - “they interrupt our joy. Our history. Our progress. They know they can’t stop us unless they kill us but they can’t kill us all, so you’re living your life and suddenly interrupted by white fear and suspicion. They fear sharing anything. Our success is a threat.”
The final few pages brought tears to my eyes and solidified this as a five star read for me. I would highly recommend this book as not only is the writing so beautiful, but the story it recounts is very important. I loved how it touched on self esteem and self love in such a raw and emotional way.