Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father
by Alysia Abbott
W. W. Norton. 272 pages, $25.95
GAY PARENTING hasn’t received nearly as much attention as same-sex marriage in our recent cultural debates, which makes Alysia Abbott’s Fairyland a book that stands out. Her debut is a memoir about growing up with her single gay father, the late poet Steve Abbott, in San Francisco, during the 1970s and ’80s. After Alysia’s mother died in a car accident while her parents were graduate students in Atlanta, her father relocated with Alysia to San Francisco, the “fairyland” of the book’s title. Her reflections on her relationship with her dad and the city of her youth are both spirited and compelling, and also deeply moving in the final chapters that chronicle her father’s death from AIDS.