Priestdaddy, by Patricia Lockwood
So... in Patricia Lockwood’s , Priestdaddy, I was on page ninety-five before I understood that this really was her autobiography (even though “A Memoir” is written in small words under the title). In this recounting of her bizarro-world upbringing, the fact that her father is indeed a clergyman (who started out as a contrarian atheist turned Lutheran minister and through a strange loophole, an ordained Catholic priest) is not the weirdest part of her story… not by a long shot. The writing is candid and at times, side-splittingly funny, but also wonderfully crafted. Lockwood has authored poetry collections, and her metered cadence shines throughout this book. The timeline is a little frenetic, skipping from her frequent moves from one parish to another as a child to the present, as a married, published writer. The overarching theme of her feelings of being an outsider is always just below the surface. Despite (or probably because of) her upbringing, she is brutally honest about her (deep) skepticism when the omnipresent subject of religion surfaces. From Pro-Life demonstrations she remembers as a little girl, to the unease felt in the presence of some visiting clergy, to the misogynistic attitudes in the church - it’s a testament to her skill as a writer to be able to make these uncomfortable memories both hilarious and poignant. Recommended!
Editor's Note: Not that we ever need validation of Sarah's on-point and insightful reviews--it should be noted that The New York Times also named Priestdaddy one of the 10 best books of 2017.
Review by Sarah Ehrenson