By Chet Yarbrough
Priestdaddy: A Memoir
By: Patricia Lockwood
Narrated by: Patricia Lockwood
Patricia Lockwood (Author, poet, novelist, and essayist. Winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and the Dylan Thomas Prize.)
This is the second Lockwood’ book listened to with interest and limited praise. Praise is limited because Lockwood writes with a customized perception of the world that diminishes its broad appeal. Like this critic’s review of “No One is Talking About This”, “Priestdaddy” reinforces Lockwood’s singular perception of the world. However, “Priestdaddy” adds depth to her personalized view of life. “Priestdaddy” has broader meaning than “No One is Talking…” but its appeal remains singular more than universal.
Lockwood’s literary success is remarkable considering the life she reveals. Lockwood’s sense of humor seems inherited from her mother, but her view of the world seems locked in a struggle with perception of her “Priestdaddy” father. Her father became a Catholic Priest, which is possible after marriage with the support of the church. In Lockwood’s struggle with her “Priestdaddy” and unrelated 20th century revelations about Catholic Bishop’ pedophilia, she loses faith in organized religion.
Relationship with one’s parents and the church are only part of Lockwood’s world view. Personal life experiences revealed in “Priestdaddy” also affect Lockwood’s perception of the world.
Reference to the author’s rape and miscreant priests that abuse children is a reminder of the horrors of human perversion. The broader contribution Lockwood offers is the extreme intimacy required to achieve success as an acclaimed writer. Not everyone has the courage, willingness, or skill to tell stories of their personal lives to the public. A listener will agree or disagree with Lockwood’s personal view of the world based on their own parental inheritance and life experience.
Praise is something all writers seek but few achieve. Lockwood is an interesting writer, recognized with national awards for her writing, and praise by many of her readers.
To some extent, one’s interest in Lockwood’s writing is because of the intimacy of her stories. Others fail to have wider appreciation of Lockwood’s writing because her story is not their story. When reading or listening to a book, many are looking for a broader understanding of life, not necessarily revealed by perceptions of a writer’s intimate experience.