Priestdaddy: A Memoir – Patricia Lockwood


“Consistently alive with feeling. . . Lockwood’s prose is cute and dirty and innocent and experienced, Betty Boop in a pas de deux with David Sedaris.”
–The New York Times

“You’ll be wowed by Patricia Lockwood’s darkly profane and poetic memoir Priestdaddy.”
—Elle Magazine

From Patricia Lockwood Author, 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 Book, 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.


An Amazon Best Book of May 2017: Do not be put off by the slightly creepy title of this memoir: this is no sordid tell-all outing a deviant priest. Priestdaddy slides into the “you can never go back” end of the memoir spectrum. When debilitating illness, and the poverty that results, drives poet Patricia Lockwood and her husband to accept her father’s offer of shelter, she reluctantly returns to her childhood home. Except in Patricia Lockwood’s case, her father is Father Greg Lockwood, a married priest (short explanation: papal dispensation) who likes to lounge about in his boxers, “shredding” his guitar, and raging “HOMEY DON’T PLAY THAT” to signify displeasure. Home for Patricia and her husband will be in a bedroom near that of her parents in the rectory which comes with her father’s parish (a sign outside reads ‘God answers kneemail’). Part of the fun in this hilarious memoir is watching Lockwood gamely try to play the part of the straight-man to her parents’ shenanigans. The other part is seeing that most of their lunacy has rubbed off on her. Though she attempts a semblance of normalcy for her husband’s comfort, it’s clear that she’s all in with her crazy family. The laughs range from silly to raunchy in a spectrum that might make David Sedaris envious, but the line that stands out the most comes near the end: “A family never recognizes its own idylls while it’s living them.” Priestdaddy is Patricia Lockwood recognizing her idyll.