A Memoir of My Father

Book - 2013
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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.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton and Company, ©2013.
ISBN: 9780393082524
Characteristics: xviii, 326 pages :,illustrations ;,22 cm.


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JMFlaherty Apr 07, 2015

Alysia most certainly was her father's angel.
But I'm not convinced he was such a great father to her. He does seem to realize this.
I think Alysia owes much to her mother's parents (who paid for her bi-lingual eduation which matters a lot in today's world) and to her "Big Sister" who made invaluable connections for her. Lots and lots of descriptive detail but engaging and I would like to know more about Alysia nowadays.

ChristchurchLib Nov 19, 2013

"Describes the author's life being raised by her widowed, bi-sexual father in the liberating cultural mecca of San Francisco in the 1970s and 1980s and how AIDS began claiming the lives of their friends and eventually her father." Biography and Memoir November 2013 newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=701378

Abbott has written an absorbing and touching memoir of her life with her late father. He was a remarkable man in a very unusual situation: a single gay parent raising a daughter in 1970s San Francisco. This is also an unflinching tale of a fraught, but very close, relationship, and she doesn't let herself off the hook. A tenderly realized portrait of Haight Ashbury and the people who lived there that rings true (I visited the city in the late 60s and mid 70s.). Nostalgic and poignant, but, at the same time, intense and soul-searching, I finished Fairyland in two sittings. A terrific read!

Aug 08, 2013

Heartbreaking and eye-opening, this memoir will have you running the gamut of emotions: happiness, sadness, frustration. Abbott offers a tell-all of her actions, feelings and regrets while growing up with her gay father, a single parent, in 70s & 80s San Francisco. Her honesty makes this story touching and unforgettable.

Jul 03, 2013

Amazing book about family, love and death set in three of my favorite cities - San Fran, Paris and NYC. Abbott captures the feeling of growing up in the 70's and 80's as well as doing so without a mom and one gay father.

She captures their relationship and the time period so well. Unfortunately, part of that history includes the catastrophic early days of the AIDS epidemic in this country. Very sad, but deeply moving memoir.


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Aug 07, 2015

"As a small child I had no problem accepting Dad, in all his beautiful queerness. Whether in pants or a dress, he was still my daddy ... ." from Chapter 12

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