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Priestdaddy: A Memoir

by Patricia Lockwood

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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9655521,352 (3.9)49
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.… (more)
  1. 00
    The World's Largest Man: A Memoir by Harrison Scott Key (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: The fathers in these two books are very similar, although Lockwood tempers her humor with a lot of honesty and introspection, while Key keeps things humorous (and more shallow).
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» See also 49 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
I jibe with Patricia Lockwood really well and love her writing. Part of that is she writes the most incisive and poetic sentences and scenes; the passage from [b:No One Is Talking About This|53733106|No One Is Talking About This|Patricia Lockwood|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1601474686l/53733106._SY75_.jpg|84057345] when the doctor chokes up after her niece's death, with cream cheese from a bagel stuck in his mustache, for instance, is perfectly amazing. Priestdaddy is said to be funnier, but humor isn't what sticks out to me. It's writing like this:

"All my life I have overheard, all my life I have listened to what people will let slip when they think you are part of their we. A we is so powerful. It is the most corrupt and formidable institution on earth. Its hands are full of the crispest and most persuasive currency. Its mouth is full of received, repeating language. The we closes its ranks to protect the space inside it, where the air is different. It does not protect people. It protects its own shape."

Does that not just nail tribalist in-group dynamics... ( )
  lelandleslie | Feb 24, 2024 |
Patricia Lockwood is a master wordsmith. The prose in this comic memoir is often exquisite. Ms. Lockwood grew up under unusual circumstances: her father is a Catholic priest. Her mother was a good Catholic girl who married a man who later became a Lutheran minister, but then converted to Catholicism, and through some quirky rule, was able to be ordained and keep his wife and family. He seems quite the character, although he is certainly someone whose politics put me off. As much as I enjoyed Ms. Lockwood's descriptions and colorful language, I found the book somewhat disjointed, almost like a collection of essays rather than a book-length memoir. At times the story did not hold my attention, but overall I enjoyed it. ( )
  bschweiger | Feb 4, 2024 |
Lockwood’s writing style overwhelmed me in not a good way ... I almost put the book down early on but I’m glad I stuck with it to the end. She’s certainly a good storyteller and she has a hell of a story to tell re. her life. Maybe I just don’t care for her aesthetic (manic pixie plus constant pointless sexual references) so all the more kudos that I enjoyed the whole book. She demystifies both the midwest and Catholicism, quite a feat. ( )
  monicaberger | Jan 22, 2024 |
Started off very promising, then just slowed to a crawl. It appears the author had a good 200 page in her but decided to stretch it a bit. She should have stopped at 200. I got bored and just stop caring about her father, mother and even her. ( )
  BenM2023 | Nov 22, 2023 |
Recommended by my daughter, PRIESTDADDY is a winner. Patricia Lockwood's memoir ranges from moving to hilarious to profound, as she tells of growing up, the second of five children, in various rectories around the Midwest and south. It is also a meticulously recorded look at her parents' life and marriage. Greg and Karen married young, and he did a hitch in the navy as a submariner. He told of how, deep in the ocean, he and his crewmates watched THE EXORCIST numerous times, which he said prompted a religious vocation. Initially he was a Lutheran minister, then he converted to Catholicism and, under a little known papal loophole, was ordained a priest. Yes, a married priest with five kids!

Lockwood, who is a poet (and it shows, and to her advantage) frames her story in a year in which she and her husband, flat broke, were forced to move back in with her parents, not always a comfortable fit. They also shared the house with "the seminarian," who is something of a character himself. But not nearly as much as the titular character, who is something of a family despot, a loud "blusterer" who blasts - "shreds?" - electric guitar riffs from his room, and enjoys lounging around the house clad only in his boxers watching violent action-thrillers on TV. To his credit, he is always available to his parishioners in times of need or trouble. He is also of a very conservative, right-leaning bent, even to picketing abortion clinics (with wife and children in tow) and supporting a disgraced bishop who for years shifted and hid priests guilty of sexual abuse of children. The author herself remembers a priest who was a frequent visitor to their house, who held her on his lap and stroked her hair, "mansplaining" to her uncomfortable mother that "children need to be touched." (Her mother finally banned the priest from their home.)

I haven't even begun to touch the surface of all that Patricia Lockwood covers in this marvelous memoir of her unusual Catholic childhood, her long suffering mother and her domineering PRIESTDADDY. But take my word for it. It's a real winner. My very highest recommendation.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER ( )
  TimBazzett | Nov 1, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patricia Lockwoodprimary authorall editionscalculated
Willey, RachelCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my family
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"Before they allowed your father to be a priest," my mother tells me, "they made me take the Psychopath Test."
Quotations
I know all women are supposed to be strong enough now to strangle presidents and patriarchies between their powerful thighs, but it doesn't work that way. Many of us were actually affected, by male systems and male anger, in ways we cannot always articulate or overcome. Sometimes, when the ceiling seems especially low and the past especially close, I think to myself, I did not make it out. I am still there in that place of diminishment, where that voice an octave deeper than mine is telling me what I am.
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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.

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