“Black Dove” By Colin McAdam Book Review

Aubrey Roemmich, Editor

Black Dove by Colin McAdam was published on February 7th, 2023 by Penguin Random House. This book is about Oliver and his father, a rundown storyteller, who live in a tall house echoing with the ghost of his alcoholic mother. Oliver’s father spends his days attempting to connect with his son and write his next greatest story; neither endeavor is going well. In an attempt to sooth both himself and Oliver, his father tells stories of the Black Dove, a mythical flower that can give the person who consumes it unwavering bravery.  

Oliver is in need of some bravery. A scrawny and bit of an odd kid, Oliver is relentlessly bullied at school. Most days he hides in the janitor’s closet until he is sure that everyone is gone. One day, he is found by the bullies, and they chase him into town where Oliver finds himself hiding in an old antique shop. There Oliver finds an old man deeply entrenched in experimental science that borders on the realm of magic. Desperate to escape his bullies and the legacy of his mother, Oliver allows the man to conduct genetic testing that eventually gives him uncanny abilities. While all this is happening, Oliver befriends a girl who has moved across the street from him. As he falls into the world of the magical scientist, he is also falling in love with his first crush.   

As Oliver and his father are trying to navigate their own dark minds, the town they live in is wrought with an undercurrent of danger. Murders, magical beasts, and the unexplainable have taken over this sleepy town and they seem to be slowly consuming everyone and everything. This is a deeply moving novel about grief, love, revenge, and how we tell stories of tragedy and triumph.  

This book kept my attention from the moment I picked it up to the moment I finished it. Even when I was not actively reading, I found myself thinking about the story. The writing and narrative style of this novel are both so distinctly driven. I could hear the echoes of the narrator in my mind long after I put the book down. The magical realism juxtaposed to the many harsh realities of human life created an ever-growing narrative that encompassed a whole slew of perspectives. This really was a magical book. 


Aubrey Roemmich is a Dakota Student Section Editor. She can be reached at [email protected]