A little while ago the lovely Emma from Never Judge A Book By Its Cover and I launched Let’s Talk YA. You can check out all of the books I’ve previously recommended, all of which are incredible UKYA books that I think need to be shouted about more.
This post is a day later than usual, as I had exams yesterday!
Today, I’m discussing the brilliant The Black Flamingo, as it was National Poetry day this week and I absolutely loved this fierce and empowering but also raw, emotional and vulnerable story told in verse.
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. ‘I masquerade in makeup and feathers and I am applauded.’
Why I Love It:
First of all, this is such a stunning cover and the naked hardback complements it perfectly. But don’t worry, the story contained within this beautiful cover is just as brilliant.
This is a tale about finding your place in the world, growing up and coming out. Michael struggles with this even more as a gay, mixed-race man and I really liked how Atta explored the intersections of these facets of Michael, especially how communities that are meant to support you can be divisive because of other parts of your self. The writing was so powerful and I loved the discussion around toxic masculinity, race and being LGBT+, with the intersections between identities forming strong discussion points.
I really liked how this book felt both quiet and ferociously loud and proud at the same time, tackling deep emotions and going me frequent goosebumps. It tackles toxic masculinity, internalised homophobia and racism with such thought-provoking, phenomenal writing that I was utterly entranced by.
Atta’s exploration of complicated relationships, both with friends and family, was such a welcome change from the often polarised portrayals that don’t allow room for character growth without ever excusing despicable actions.
Atta has a beautiful writing style, making the verse really feel impactful and the way that is paired with Anshika Khullar’s gorgeous illustrations works perfectly and adds an extra layer to the book that I loved.
The Black Flamingo was a timely, quietly powerful and brilliant book that I will be adding to my shelves and recommending to everyone.
Have you read The Black Flamingo? What did you think?
As always, please check out Emma’s blog for her recommendation and we will be talking on Twitter, so please get involved and use the hashtag #LetsTalkYA.