Fairyland by Alysia Abbott
A Memoir of My Father

77%

6 Critic Reviews

Colored with quirky, picturesque details of Bay Area counter culture...Abbott's narrative balances idiosyncratic flourishes with universal emotions of anger, resentment, jealousy, and guilt.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

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


With a new foreword

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.

 

About Alysia Abbott

See more books from this 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.
 
Published June 3, 2013 by W. W. Norton & Company. 345 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Gay & Lesbian, Political & Social Sciences, Parenting & Relationships, History, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Fairyland
All: 6 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Above average
on Jun 03 2013

With the memoir, one gets the sense that Abbott is forging the letters and poems her father wrote into a sort of love letter directed back at him – and by extension, to the gay community at large.

Read Full Review of Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Alexandra Styron on Jun 07 2013

Abbott’s writing is at its best describing the throes of adolescence.

Read Full Review of Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father | See more reviews from NY Times

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on May 20 2013

Colored with quirky, picturesque details of Bay Area counter culture...Abbott's narrative balances idiosyncratic flourishes with universal emotions of anger, resentment, jealousy, and guilt.

Read Full Review of Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Kirkus

Excellent
on Mar 31 2013

...Abbott offers unforgettable glimpses into a community that has since left an indelible mark on both the literary and social histories of one of America’s most colorful cities.

Read Full Review of Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Vinton Rafe McCabe on Jun 03 2013

That Ms. Abbott had her father’s own words to draw upon certainly adds traction to the work. But it is Alysia Abbott’s voice that is the more melodic of the two, the one that draws us in and bids us listen.

Read Full Review of Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Globe and Mail

Below average
Reviewed by Jason Mcbride on Jul 12 2013

...the unsophisticated, wide-eyed prose too often feels as if it were written by a teenager for teenagers.

Read Full Review of Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

Reader Rating for Fairyland
87%

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Karen Russo

Karen Russo 5 Sep 2013

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