Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father

Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father

by Alysia Abbott
4.1 14


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Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father by Alysia Abbott

A beautiful, vibrant memoir about growing up motherless in 1970s and ’80s San Francisco with an openly gay father.

After his wife dies in a car accident, bisexual writer and activist Steve Abbott moves with his two-year-old daughter to San Francisco. There they discover a city in the midst of revolution, bustling with gay men in search of liberation—few of whom are raising a child.

Steve throws himself into San Francisco’s vibrant cultural scene. He takes Alysia to raucous parties, pushes her in front of the microphone at poetry readings, and introduces her to a world of artists, thinkers, and writers. But the pair live like nomads, moving from apartment to apartment, with a revolving cast of roommates and little structure. As a child Alysia views her father as a loving playmate who can transform the ordinary into magic, but as she gets older Alysia wants more than anything to fit in. The world, she learns, is hostile to difference.

In Alysia’s teens, Steve’s friends—several of whom she has befriended—fall ill as AIDS starts its rampage through their community. While Alysia is studying in New York and then in France, her father tells her it’s time to come home; he’s sick with AIDS. Alysia must choose whether to take on the responsibility of caring for her father or continue the independent life she has worked so hard to create.

Reconstructing their life together from a remarkable cache of her father’s journals, letters, and writings, Alysia Abbott gives us an unforgettable portrait of a tumultuous, historic time in San Francisco as well as an exquisitely moving account of a father’s legacy and a daughter’s love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393082524
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 06/03/2013
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Alysia Abbott's work has appeared in Real Simple, Salon, and TheAtlantic.com. She is a graduate of the New School's MFA program and was a contributing producer at WNYC radio. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and two children.

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Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
SakeGuy More than 1 year ago
A brilliant and stunning new memoir from Alysia Abbott. Gripping, honest, funny heartfelt and real, you will be drawn completely in to Abbott's world in San Francisco. A wonderful rendering of a time and place and also a relationship between father and daughter. I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an intriguing read that depicts the loving, caring and sometimes frustrating relationship between a single father and daughter in San Francisco. It also relates the horrors of the AIDS epidemic during its height in the 80s and early 90s. Abbott is a gifted writer and tells an honest story. Well worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alysia Abbott has created a compelling memoir documenting her life with a gay single parent in 1970s and 1980s San Francisco. The emotions are intense; both good and bad feelings abound. Even with their ups and downs, Alysia Abbot and her father have a true bond with each other. The book is candid and raw. Abbott is very well written, her father would be proud. The setting and father-daughter relationship are highly intriguing. I'm disappointed to see that several people's negative reviews on here have pretty much nothing to do with the book, but rather contain their own moral objections to homosexuality. Not only is that a misuse of this website, but really, the main point of the story is not "homosexuality." I would argue that the purpose of the story is to document a specific interesting time period and place, a young woman's thoughts and feelings, and a heartfelt father-daughter relationship, which it does exceptionally well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Fairyland" is a remarkable story in which Alysia Abbott takes us into her childhood as a young girl growing up with a gay father. The father-daught relationship is as loving as it is unique. The story includes a different perspective of the 1970's gay rights movement and the AIDS epidemic.  Abbott is a true storyteller, grabbing readers with intimate details about the life of an artist and the struggle to be accepted. In the writing, we see Alysia's love for her father. The book also contains Steve Abbott's poems, journal entries, and drawings, which let us see his strength in coming out and raising a daughter alone during such a challenging time. Alysia holds nothing back, sharing her resentments and embarrassments, her love and her shame. Upon finishing the book, every reader will feel an emotional connection to the author and her story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But slow reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
perfect_sorrow More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book. Alysia had a childhood unlike anything that I could've imagined: being raised by her single, gay father in 1970s and 1980s San Francisco. I thought she did a good job bringing to life a world that most people are unaware of. One thing I had a problem with was that her father wasn't really a character I could sympathize with; in fact I felt annoyed with him at times, but I do understand that there really wasn't a guidebook for them to go on at the time.
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Issie More than 1 year ago
I loved the daughter/father relationship, writing and insights into the period of time in our history that many seem to have forgotten. This would be a great book club selection, I think.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a good book