In Search of the Perfect Singing Flamingo

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews | Adult Fiction - LAURA LEAVITT

Claire Ta­con Po­plar Press (MAY) Soft­cover $20 (224pp) 978-1-928088-57-8

Claire Ta­con’s in­her­ently re­lat­able and hu­mor­ous In Search of the Perfect Singing Flamingo res­onates as it con­veys hu­man foibles and kind­ness through a com­pli­cated fam­ily, a lonely teenager, and a col­lec­tion of an­i­ma­tronic an­i­mals.

The story fol­lows Henry. He is pro­tec­tive of, and focused on, his daugh­ter, Starr, who lives with Wil­liams Syn­drome—some­times so much so that he ig­nores his other daugh­ter, Me­lanie, and his wife, Kath­leen. His work at a chil­dren’s party restau­rant, Frankie’s Fun­house, makes him nos­tal­gic for Starr’s happy child­hood.

Now an adult, Starr tries out liv­ing with a room­mate, deal­ing with frus­trat­ing co­work­ers, and car­ing for her­self. Dur­ing a par­tic­u­larly hard week, one of Henry’s co­work­ers snaps un­der his own pres­sure. He, Henry, and Starr end up on a road trip to Chicago to­gether to pick up the an­i­ma­tronic flamingo that will com­plete Henry’s fam­ily’s in-home karaoke setup, learning from each other and try­ing to get back in one piece.

The plot twists here are hi­lar­i­ous and hope­ful, even through ex­cel­lently drawn, spine-tin­gling con­flicts. Di­a­logue is snappy, and in­ner mono­logues hu­man­ize the char­ac­ters, even as they make de­ci­sions with bad con­se­quences. Life with Wil­liams Syn­drome is ex­plored with nu­ance.

Zany de­tails, like stag­ing a car­toon­ish death to ac­cent a film festival, are un­ex­pected and in­spire con­fi­dence that, even in the depths of dif­fi­cul­ties and de­feat, the char­ac­ters will find a way out. Me­lanie’s side of the story, in par­tic­u­lar, cre­ates a poignant re­minder of how one mo­ment can for­ever change how a fam­ily views it­self.

In Search of the Perfect Singing Flamingo is an in­tri­cate story of fam­ily sup­port, even when it comes in un­likely forms.

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