I’m sure that you’ve heard this before: The book is almost always better than the movie. But have you ever heard anyone say, the book is always better than the play? You’ll have your chance to decide this Friday May 23 at the eBar when Alison Wearing will perform her award-winning one woman show Confessions of a Fairy’s Daughter.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found myself remembering my past because of how perfectly Wearing captures language and idioms. She also has a knack for remembering the behaviours and little obsessions that make her characters, particularly her dad, jump to life right there on the page. I feel like I know her academic dad, who sang Gilbert and Sullivan songs in his French silk pajamas and read Julia Child’s Mastering French Cooking while trying to make a soufflé.
Although humour runs through much of the book, there is also sadness and discomfort as the family struggles to find its way through the coming to the surface of a gay parent. Wearing's parents never really fought, retreating instead, and she found herself hiding the truth about her dad for years. In one particularly poignant passage, she remembers when she was quite young how her dad cried while reading Anne of Green Gables with her. One of the character’s fathers had died and it was here that her father broke down. She knew that her father’s father had also died young and she realized then that her father was not just a father, but a person with a life beyond her.
Seeing a parent as a person with foibles and history and heartaches does not come easily. Alison Wearing has created a powerful story in the book. I have the feeling that she will do the same in her play.