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Priestdaddy: A Memoir Hardcover – May 2, 2017
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An Amazon Best Book of May 2017: Do not be put off by the slightly creepy title of this memoir: this is no sordid tell-all outing a deviant priest. Priestdaddy slides into the “you can never go back” end of the memoir spectrum. When debilitating illness, and the poverty that results, drives poet Patricia Lockwood and her husband to accept her father’s offer of shelter, she reluctantly returns to her childhood home. Except in Patricia Lockwood’s case, her father is Father Greg Lockwood, a married priest (short explanation: papal dispensation) who likes to lounge about in his boxers, “shredding” his guitar, and raging “HOMEY DON’T PLAY THAT” to signify displeasure. Home for Patricia and her husband will be in a bedroom near that of her parents in the rectory which comes with her father’s parish (a sign outside reads ‘God answers kneemail’). Part of the fun in this hilarious memoir is watching Lockwood gamely try to play the part of the straight-man to her parents’ shenanigans. The other part is seeing that most of their lunacy has rubbed off on her. Though she attempts a semblance of normalcy for her husband’s comfort, it’s clear that she’s all in with her crazy family. The laughs range from silly to raunchy in a spectrum that might make David Sedaris envious, but the line that stands out the most comes near the end: “A family never recognizes its own idylls while it’s living them.” Priestdaddy is Patricia Lockwood recognizing her idyll. --Vannessa Cronin, The Amazon Book Review
“What I love about this book was the way it feels suffused with love – of literature, nature and the English language; for her family . . . one of the pleasures of this memoir is its particularly tender mother-daughter bond . . . Lockwood’s voice is wonderfully grounded and authentic . . .she proves herself a formidably gifted writer who can do pretty much anything she pleases.” —Gemma Sieff, The New York Times Book Review
"Priestdaddy roars from the gate . . . it’s not just that Lockwood has fresh eyes and quick wits, but that in her father she’s lucked upon one of the great characters of this nonfiction decade . . . Lockwood’s prose is cute and dirty and innocent and experienced, Betty Boop in a pas de deux with David Sedaris . . . I suspect it may mean a lot to many people, especially the lapsed Catholics among us. It is, for sure, like no book I have read.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times
“Wildly entertaining…[Lockwood’s] humor and poetic descriptions are both impressively prolific, every sentence somehow funnier than the one you just read.” —New York Magazine’s The Cut
“[A] vivid, unrelentingly funny memoir… [Lockwood’s] stories . . . are both savage and tender, shot through with surprises and revelations.”—New Yorker
“One of the year’s most singular memoirs . . . Lockwood’s prose has the lyricism and perfect peculiarity of her poetry, diffusing the sometimes-darkness of her own life in a brilliantly observed kaleidoscope of kook.” – Elle Magazine, The Best Books of 2017
“Gives ‘confessional memoir’ a new layer of meaning. From its hilariously irreverent first sentence, this daughter’s story of her guitar-jamming, abortion-protesting, God-fearing father will grab you by the clerical collar and won’t let go.”—Vanity Fair
“Remarkable . . . Lockwood proceeds with a near unflagging sense of ironic exuberance and verbal inventiveness . . . this superabundance of comic energy and literary vigor is a measure of Lockwood’s seriousness.”—Washington Post
“With this ferocious, bodacious memoir, Lockwood finally mounts her own pulpit, reclaiming a story that all along was hers alone to tell.”—O, The Oprah Magazine
“A sharply written and (I can’t overstate this) relentlessly funny family history . . .Lockwood’s language swerves into sumptuous poetry several times per chapter.”—Boston Globe
“A memoir about growing up different and Catholic, but unlike any you've read before. Poet and writer Patricia Lockwood brings her uniquely bracing yet humorous prose to the story of where it all began: home.”—Glamour Magazine
“Here, using the same offbeat intelligence, comic timing, gimlet skill for observation and verbal dexterity that she uses in both her poetry and her tweets, [Lockwood] delivers an unsparing yet ultimately affectionate portrait of faith and family… Priestdaddy gives both believers and nonbelievers a great deal to contemplate.”—Chicago Tribune
“Funny and gorgeously written, with scenes so witty and zany they could be lifted from a Broadway show, Priestdaddy will be one of the major prose debuts of the year.” —The Huffington Post
"Priestdaddy is a revelatory debut, a meditation on family and art that finds poetry in the unlikeliest things, including poetry. Patricia Lockwood's prose is nothing short of ecstatic; every sentence hums with vibrant, anarchic delight, and her portrait of her epically eccentric family life is funny, warm, and stuffed to bursting with emotional insight. If I could write like this, I would." —Joss Whedon
“Lockwood is antic, deadpan, heartbreaking. . . each sentence shimmies with wonderful, obscene life.”
“Lockwood’s humor can shape-shift into something else entirely, something quite moving. . . Priestdaddy is a book necessary for 2017—a meditation on living in the house of an unabashed patriarch, of asserting one’s humanity and continuing to take up space."
– The Rumpus
“Lockwood is one of the great original voices of this new century and she is in total control of it here.”
“The story of a very loving and eccentric family, full of American contradictions and dense with brilliant sentences that Lockwood seems to toss off as if she were brushing lint from her sweater.”
“Patricia Lockwood's side-splitting Priestdaddy puts the poetry back in memoir. Her verbal verve creates a reading experience of effervescent joy, even as Lockwood takes you through some of her life’s darker passages. Destined to be a classic, Priestdaddy is this year's must-read memoir." —Mary Karr, author of The Liars’ Club
"Beautiful, funny and poignant. I wish I'd written this book." —Jenny Lawson, author of Furiously Happy
“Lockwood has the singular ability to sear you with its often comical, but rarely less than sublime beauty. Her words work as lightning; they devastate with extreme efficiency, you continue to see them in front of you even when you’ve closed your eyes.”—Nylon
“This is a story about all kinds of sacred things… Lockwood’s estrangement is born of intimacy, and she chronicles it with clear eyes.”
“A sidesplittingly funny, and simply gorgeously written reflection on her father’s decision to become a Catholic priest. As poignantly self-reflective as it is authoritative and enlightening about the state of the Catholic Church—and modern religion—today, PRIESTDADDY’s buzz is sure to sustain us all summer long.”—Harper's Bazaar
“A powerful true story from one of America’s most relevant and funniest writers. . . the commandingly written Priestdaddy—about family, religion, identity and trauma—will certainly make you laugh out loud. But it may also move you to tears.”
“Irreverently reverent . . . It is easy to be distracted and delighted by [Lockwood’s] strange, phosphorescent prose, but the wisp of an idea brushes against you, and before you know it, there’s a welt.”
“These vignettes of growing up as the daughter of a married Catholic priest (rare but possible) are so darkly funny that I found myself hooting with laugher and highlighting passages like crazy.”
“Lockwood’s book is really a rather deliciously old-school, big-R Romantic endeavor: a chronicle of the growth of a mind, the evolution of an imagination.”
"I'm an agnostic, but I truly believe that we are all blessed by Patricia Lockwood's decision to lend her amazing facility for language to prose with Priestdaddy. It's a hilarious book full of heavy truths; a wonderful study of one of life's most precious resources - beautiful weirdos." —Andy Richter
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When Patricia has to move back in with her idiosyncratic, conservative parents, you know there's gotta be some wackiness and self-reflection ahead (oh, and her dad is a guitar-playing Catholic priest). She revisits the kookiness of religion, but also comes to terms with her parents, how they're human, and yadda yadda yadda...
I was really eager to read this, but for such a dynamite title, it was more boring than anything. The excitement dies down as nothing particular new is added in any of the family episodes (some of which were jaw-dropping, but a lot were filler). I don't know what I'm supposed to take out of it -- the Dad has some whackydoodle conservative ideas but is still human and cares for his family? There is a lot of blind hatefulness in people? No duh. A lot of it felt like a sitcom preaching to a choir of disillusioned lapsed Catholics.
For the actual writing, Lockwood is definitely talented. But it just felt like she was trying a little too hard to be clever. Maybe other readers will eat up everything shot out of the nonstop metaphor cannon, but none of it did much for me. All it did was add an element of peacockiness. I sure wanted to like this book, but it was a surprising slog for a book named Priestdaddy
My favorite parts are when she writes about the seminarian who came to live with them in the rectory for a summer to learn how to be a priest. Her interactions and conversations with him cut to the essence of his mindset: when he gives her his first blessing, she whispers, "Dude, I licked your hand."
Lockwood's writing is the sort that sinks into the folds of your brain like a mellow syrup, tinting the way you see and during the reading process. Your day to day life is seasoned slightly differently; your internal dialogue sounds richer, more inquisitive, more creative.
She has an alive and inquisitive way that made me love the way I began to think and write while I read Priestdaddy. I know it is temporary; a buzz that will begin to gradually fade now that I've finished her memoir. But for a moment her book seeped into my external world and everything seemed a little more vibrant.
Lockwood has a way of living in a situation and observing it; wherein personally my anger or indignation would prevent me from enmeshing like she does and would drive me on the outskirts. It was a learning experience for me. Would I have been able to tolerate some of the sexism and machismo she encounters with her bland reception or wry amusement? She shines light on difficult people and situations in a powerful way because she is able to be exposed to them, to encounter and experience them. The person I am right now does not have the fortitude to tolerate some of the situations she encounters. I would like to be able to react a bit more like her. To not feel the need to roar out of a situation that angers or disgusts me.