Fairyland Lecture by author, Alysia Abbott A Memoir of My Father
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 in 1973, bisexual writer and activist Steve Abbott moves with his two-year-old daughter to San Francisco. There they discover a city 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 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 but as she gets older Alysia wants more than anything to fit in. The world, she learns, is hostile to difference.
In her teens, Steve’s friends—several of whom she befriended—fall ill as “the gay plague” starts its rampage through their community. While Alysia is studying in New York and then France, her father comes to tell her it’s time to come home; He’s sick with AIDS. She must choose, as her father once did, whether to take on the responsibility of caring for him or to continue the independent life she worked so hard to create.
Alysia Abbott is the author of Fairyland, A Memoir of My Father, which was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and an ALA Stonewall Award winner and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards. As a journalist and critic, she has written for The New York Times, Real Simple, Vogue, Marie Claire, OUT, Slate, Salon, TheAtlantic. com, TriQuarterly and Psychology Today, among other publications. Alysia is also co-founder of The Recollectors Project, dedicated to remembering parents lost to AIDS and supporting the children they left behind.