Normally I shy away from memoirs written by poets, afraid that their style of writing won’t translate into a cohesive narrative. But Patricia Lockwood’s clever turns of phrase and eccentric personality are right at home in this book, which is primarily the story of her beer-drinking Catholic priest of a father and how growing up in this paradoxical environment shaped her life. It’s real and irreverent and will delight fans of Jenny Lawson and Mary Karr.
I think I raved to everyone who would listen about how much I loved this book. Lockwood is hilarious, yet her words are thoughtful and heartfelt as she describes her ‘walking warning label’ of a mother and her priest father who has a habit of dropping his collar (and pants) at the door. Families aren’t perfect and Lockwood’s is no different.
May 2017 Indie Next List
“A published poet, Lockwood's first memoir is a hilarious and contemplative narrative written with precise, flowing prose that baptizes the reader. Calling it an honest portrayal is a severe understatement, as Lockwood describes a father who converts to Catholicism and becomes a priest due to a little-known loophole that allows him to continue his 'normal' relationship with his wife and three children. Her understanding of what appears, from the exterior, to be bizarre behavior in the guise of religion is a peek under the sheets of a cold embrace. Loved it!”
— Todd Miller, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF 2017
NAMED ONE OF THE 50 BEST MEMOIRS OF THE PAST 50 YEARS BY THE NEW YORK TIMES
SELECTED AS A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY: The Washington Post *Elle * NPR * New York Magazine * Boston Globe * Nylon * Slate * The Cut * The New Yorker * Chicago Tribune
WINNER OF THE 2018 THURBER PRIZE FOR AMERICAN HUMOR
“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.
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 TheNew York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Slate, and the London Review of Books. Lockwood lives in Lawrence, Kansas.
“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.” --npr.org
“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 Awl
“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.” – Vulture.com
“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.” —Guernica
“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.” —Playboy
“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.” —New Republic “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.” —Omnivoracious
“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.” —The Atlantic
"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