Last night I finished The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta and I can’t stop thinking about it. If you’re not familiar with it, The Black Flamingo is a novel in verse following a gay, half black/half Greek boy named Michael from the time he is a small boy who wants to play with Barbie dolls to his starting to do DRAG in college. I loved everything about this and gave it the coveted 5 stars.
This is my second novel in verse (earlier this year I read The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo) and I’ve loved them both. I hated poetry in school and have never really gotten into as an adult either. But the novel in verse just works. These stories are powerful and moving in a way that I don’t think they could have accomplished without this format. In this format, I really feel like I knew Michael as his story progressed through the verses. It flowed so well and read so quickly but with such heart that it’s really easy to believe he is real. It read like a memoir and a wonderful one at that.
I could not help but fall in love with Michael and cheer for him every step of his journey. I was in tears at the end which given it only took about 2.5 hours to read is incredible. The words and story are powerful and I highly recommend it. If you’re scared of the novel in verse (I know I definitely was), don’t be; they’re a quick read and I think you’ll be surprised.
This also marks book #4 of 8 pledged for me of Whatever You Want a Thon. If you don’t know about this readathon, there’s still time to join, check out the info on Twitter @whateverthon.