ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



May 2023



Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Three Stars

Best for:
Those who enjoy well-written memoirs that involve a religious upbringing.

In a nutshell:
Author Lockwood was raised by her father, a Catholic priest. Unusual, no?

Worth quoting:
“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.”

Why I chose it:
This was recommended to me at a bookstore after a discussion of the types of books I enjoy.

What it left me feeling:
Vaguely annoyed.

On paper (heh) this is the type of book I enjoy. It is extraordinarily well-written; Lockwood has a talent with words. It involves someone who has rebelled against the expectations put on them. But something about this book just wasn’t for me.

Lockwood’s father started out as a member of clergy of a different religion, one that allows the church leaders to be married. He then decided to convert to Catholicism, when he already had a wife and some kids. Apparently if one converts and passes some tests, one can be a married Catholic priest.

Obviously, there aren’t many people like Lockwood’s father, so her experience isn’t one people can necessarily directly relate to. However, as someone who is no longer a part of the faith that her family practices, I’m sure her story is relateable to many. And it is impressive that despite not sharing some many strong beliefs with her father, mother, and siblings, her family is still supportive of her. So supportive, in fact, that the majority of this book is written while Lockwood is living with her husband at her parent’s home after some back luck with employment.

I think the challenge I had with this book is that Lockwood’s father is not someone I can like or support. He’s misogynistic and just strikes me a deeply unpleasant and destructive person. He doesn’t treat his wife well, and it turns out he was publicly supportive of a Bishop who moved sexual predators around diocese. To Lockwood’s credit, she discusses this, but that doesn’t make it any more understandable as a reader.

I also don’t believe I had the same reading experience as those who provided some of the blurbs – I did not weep with laughter, though I did chuckle. I’m not sure I’d call this a ‘comic memoir;’ I think it’s more a lyrical memoir with some funny moment but also some deeply disturbing ones.

I’m not disappointed I read this book – as I said, the writing is fantastic – but it just wasn’t for me.

Recommend to a Friend / Keep / Donate it / Toss it:
Donate it.

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