Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Review: Priestdaddy: A Memoir

Priestdaddy: A Memoir Priestdaddy: A Memoir by Patricia Lockwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Most of this memoir reads like episodes of a sitcom with the central situation being Patricia growing up with a Catholic priest as a father. Seminarians, moving around a lot, some of the strangeness of being super conservative in the 80s and 90s, it's all in there. A lot of the book could be dipped in and out of without feeling lost, because it isn't really told chronologically (this might bother some people though.) Many of the stories are just that - self-contained stories, often funny. (People who are easily offended or who don't want to see Catholics being anything less than perfect should probably not bother, but man oh man is there some funny stuff in the book.)

But there is deeper stuff here too. The author really takes some steps back to reflect on her experience of the church and that feeling of the self-contained we, and how it might have effected others:
"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. The question for someone who was raised in a closed circle and then leaves it, is what is the us, and what is the them, and how do you ever move from one to the other?"
I'd love to see this turned into a television show because the dichotomy between Patricia's priest father (and his see-through briefs and his guitar licks) and the seminarians piously rotating through their house, it's just golden.

I would say the audiobook gains a star because it is read by the author, and is hilarious.

I know Lockwood is also a published poet, and I need to read those poems!

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