Buddy Review | The Black Flamingo – Dean Atta

The Black Flamingo is a book we’ve been hearing a lot about and seeing everywhere. It’s a book both of us were really interested in. We found it on Storytel and listened to the audiobook. Today we want to share our thoughts on this book. Keep on reading to find out more!

Buddy Review | The Black Flamingo – Dean Atta

I masquerade in makeup and feathers and I am applauded.
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.

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
Published by Hodder Children's Books on 08/08/2019
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 360
Format: Audiobook


Candyce There are two versions of The Black Flamingo and I love both covers. After reading the book I really think they both really fit this book perfectly!

Isabelle I really like this cover! The main character is drawn and gives you a perfect image of Michael. It fits the story perfectly and definitely makes me want to pick the book up.


Men are sand castles 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



Candyce I haven’t read many books in verse yet, but so far I’ve been enjoying the ones I’ve read. The Black Flamingo ended up being a lot different than I expected, but in such a good way. I loved that this book followed our main character Michael from a really young age all the way to university. It’s his journey and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss a single moment.

Michael is gay, half Jamaican- half Greek- Cypriot and trying to find his place in the world. Through poetry we read his story. Dean Atta’s words were so amazing and the fact the audiobook was narrated by him made them even more powerful. It’s hard to put this story into words, but it really hit me in all the feels. I really think this is one you need to experience while reading.

The Black Flamingo deals with so many different subjects: family and friendship (we learn they can be helpful and harmful), homophobia, sexuality, race and so much more. Michael has a lot of questions and explores some while at university. When he comes across the Drag Society the world opens up in a way that lets him explore himself even more. The final part of this book was so powerful and I listened to it more than once.

I know this is pretty short, but in my eyes it’s hard to give a book like this justice in a just a few words, especially when it made me feel so much. All I can say is pick up this book, because it will be so worth it! I recently heard there are also some amazing illustrations, so I’ll be picking up the physical book very soon. The Black Flamingo is a book I need on my shelf!

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.

Isabelle¬†like Candyce, I haven’t read that many books in verse. And I don’t think I would pick any up anytime soon. However, I do really enjoy listening to them as an audiobook. Especially when they are narrated by the author. It’s so soothing to listening to a novel written in verse in my opinion and I would love to find some more.

I wasn’t completely sure what to expect of The Black Flamingo, but the book was still different from what I thought it was going to be. We start off with a pretty young Michael and follow him all the way until his college years. I really liked this journey! At first I wasn’t sure about it, but I was sucked in quickly and finished the book in no time.

It’s very difficult to review this book and I don’t have that much to say. Michael goes on a journey of self-discovery, what does it mean to be half Jamaican, half Greek-Cypriot and what does it mean to be gay. Of course I can’t relate to any of those things, but Dean Atta wrote Michael’s struggles in such a beautiful way and makes you feel a lot of feelings.

We meet some interesting characters and join Michael while he deals with racism, homophobia, his sexuality, his identity, his family and his friends. So many parts of this story really hit home, especially because it was written is such a beautiful and eloquent way. I would highly recommend this book and hope it gets all the love it deserves.

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.

As you can tell by our review, we both loved The Black Flamingo. We would also really suggest the audiobook. If you’ve read this book, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Let us know in the comments!

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