Fairyland

A Memoir of My Father
Narrated by: Alysia Abbott
Length: 10 hrs and 21 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (88 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2013 Alysia Abbott (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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A Wonderful Memoir

I was completely bowled over by this memoir. Alysia Abbott was brought up by her single, gay dad after her mother's death in a car crash when she was two. They lived in San Francisco during that city's bohemian heyday. Her father was a poet and artist who died of AIDS in the early 1990's, when Alysia was barely out of college. The book is stunningly honest and moving. While Abbott doesn't sugar coat her own embarrassment and discomfort with her father's sexuality and eventual illness, she writes about their intense and unusual bond with tremendous love and respect. I found the author's ability to avoid both judgment and sentimentality extremely impressive. Additionally, the book brings to life the late-hippie world of San Francisco poetry and alternative publishing circles and the ravages of the AIDS epidemic when an HIV-positive diagnosis was a death sentence. I don't cry easily, but the end of the book brought me to tears.

Abbott's narration is perfect.

2 people found this helpful

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If you loved The Glass Castle listen to this!!!!

Such a great life story also filled with actual historical events. Alysia's story has you from the beginning. I fell in love with her writing and narration. LOVE.

2 people found this helpful

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Great representation of the time

I'm the same age as the author. I really enjoyed how vividly she described places and clothes and music from the time period she was discussing. These things all had such a deep impact on her as she was growing up, and that meant a lot to me, as those things affected me during my childhood and teen years, as well. I especially loved that she was into the same music as me during her early 20's.

She wrote about her gay father and his eventual demise from AIDS. I do not have gay parents, and I was not a motherless child. I never knew anyone personally who died of AIDS. However, I could still relate to a lot of what she spoke of during that time. In the late 80s and early 90s, AIDS was a huge deal, and if you were on the "wrong" side of it, it could be pretty scary/devastating. I still remember the fear.

Very well written, and as I listened to her reading the audio version, I appreciated that she spoke the French parts so well. I know no French, so she often translated what she was saying.... but regardless, her accent was so beautiful, I appreciated what she was saying even when I didn't understand it!

1 person found this helpful

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A top 5 for me

I did all but ugly cry at this end of this story.

Because I’m a daughter who had parents, because I am a mother who has filled both parental rolls, because I am a product of being raised In Close-mindedness, because I was still part of our world through this historical time in America, because I was and am able to form my own opinions,because I have paved my own road albeit the rough one, because I’ve lost someone important to me.... because I am goddam human.

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Really wanted to like it, but couldn't finish it.

What about Alysia Abbott’s performance did you like?

I loved her cadence. She has a great voice.

Any additional comments?

This book had some interesting parts, but it seemed to drag on and on. I was disappointed. I really wanted to love it.