A Memoir

Book - 2017
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The Washington Post * Elle * NPR * New York Magazine * Boston Globe * Nylon * Slate * The Cut * The New Yorker * Chicago Tribune


"Affectionate and very funny . . . wonderfully grounded and authentic. This book proves Lockwood to be a formidably gifted writer who can do pretty much anything she pleases." - The New York Times Book Review

From Patricia Lockwood--a writer acclaimed for her wildly original voice--a vivid, heartbreakingly funny memoir about balancing identity with family and tradition.

Father Greg Lockwood is unlike any Catholic priest you have ever met--a man who lounges in boxer shorts, loves action movies, and whose constant jamming on the guitar reverberates "like a whole band dying in a plane crash in 1972." His daughter is an irreverent poet who long ago left the Church's country. When an unexpected crisis leads her and her husband to move back into her parents' rectory, their two worlds collide.

In Priestdaddy , Lockwood interweaves emblematic moments from her childhood and adolescence--from an ill-fated family hunting trip and an abortion clinic sit-in where her father was arrested to her involvement in a cultlike Catholic youth group--with scenes that chronicle the eight-month adventure she and her husband had in her parents' household after a decade of living on their own. Lockwood details her education of a seminarian who is also living at the rectory, tries to explain Catholicism to her husband, who is mystified by its bloodthirstiness and arcane laws, and encounters a mysterious substance on a hotel bed with her mother.

Lockwood pivots from the raunchy to the sublime, from the comic to the deeply serious, exploring issues of belief, belonging, and personhood. Priestdaddy is an entertaining, unforgettable portrait of a deeply odd religious upbringing, and how one balances a hard-won identity with the weight of family and tradition.
Publisher: New York, New York :, Riverhead Books,, 2017, ©2017.
ISBN: 9781594633737
Branch Call Number: 811 LOC L
Characteristics: 336 pages ; 24 cm


From the critics

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Feb 25, 2019

The premise of this memoir is what makes it interesting, but too much of the book relied on the eccentricities of her father without really delving into what her family was like. Her siblings are non-entities. Her mother is a worrier, and that’s the most we learn about her. I would have liked to know what the parishioners at their church thought about their Catholic priest having a family.

Feb 09, 2019

Amazing, weird, challenging, inspiring, laugh-out-loud, teary, impactful book -- unlike any other I have read. Learned a lot about myself as I related (or not) to the author's glimpse into her unusual family life. Very impressed with the "positive" spin put on attitude and behavior experiences that many times get stuck in negative energy. Sets a powerful example of the blessings that come from embracing the "gift" in troublesome situations.

Jan 31, 2019

it's hard for me to rate this below a 4, because i appreciate the author's humor and wit and perspective so much. her writing itself is also beautiful, yet therein comes the challenges as sentences are often a bit over the top and it's very easy to put this book down. that said, it's also easy to pick this book up and in some ways extending the read time and treating chapters like short stories may add to the reading ease. you'll laugh out loud and appreciate the little things throughout this. there's a layer or cynicism combined with open-mindedness, and for me, i'm most oft in agreement with patricia lockwood so i enjoyed cover to cover... just with pause and delay.

Jan 23, 2019

austin klein i think.

Dec 14, 2018

One of my favorite books I have ever read. I love her voice and humor so much. I love all the bits of poems throughout. As a kid who grew up in a religious household with parents who were secretly artsy, I have never felt more normal than reading this memoir.

Jun 18, 2018

Lockwood can certainly write and has a wicked sense of humour, but the first half of the book didn't really speak to me. I grew tired of hearing about her father's underwear - or lack of underwear. But then she clobbered me with the second half of "Priestdaddy" - which examined religion and family in a much deeper and compassionate fashion. I wound up really liking her voice and this book. Recommended - maybe particularly for those who take their religion in a very certain and dogmatic fashion?

Mar 24, 2018

Patricia Lockwood crafts the language,dissects and helps us enjoy it as she does.
A family memoir of a family life always needing to leave one parish,rectory,school and friends,to re-establish themselves in another. A good read.

Dec 28, 2017

Lockwood's memoir rants, raves, and catches the reader with laugh-out loud moments. She exposes the eccentricities of the Catholic priesthood and her father's out of the ordinary character. Sometimes funny, sometimes creepy, and at times quite sad I was jostled around as the author recounts her many years living with a large family whose mother was a fearful, submissive and whose father was a guitar, gun loving, ex-minister-turned Catholic priest.

Dec 02, 2017

On NYT Ten Best Books of 2017 list.

Oct 11, 2017

From the first pages, this is the most unusual tone and use of language that I've experienced for a long time. I heard about this book from the New York Times Review of Books podcast and they couldn't talk it up enough. The author is a poet and it makes the words and sentences seem like little poems, but the total is so much greater than that.

As someone who was once married to a cult leader-type strong male authority-type con artist-type figure, the Priestdaddy part of this was something I've seen and experienced. So it was creepy and informative and eye-opening and cringe-worthy to hear a daughter's take on having a father like that. So strong in his own mind, so weird yet so confident and so almost narcissistic.

The mom is the one I just loved. And the author, and the author's husband. They're just infinitely interesting and adorable and so happy to have had the opportunity to experience her life through her writing, which is spectacular.

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