Lockwood’s riotous retelling of growing up in a rectory with her Catholic priest father and her disease-obsessed mother is a memoir like no other. Her poetic talents elevate her prose to skyscraper levels of absurdity and warmth, creating an immensely enjoyable and impactful read. Recommended By Haley B., Powells.com
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"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.
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
About the Author
Patricia Lockwood was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and raised in all the worst cities of the Midwest. She is the author of two poetry collections, Balloon Pop Outlaw Black and Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, a New York Times Notable Book. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Slate, and The London Review of Books. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas.