Priestdaddy

By admin
There’s an old piece by

David Foster Wallace
PERSON

where he talks about how writers spend most of their time just sitting around watching people and then writing about what they see. That’s what this book is about:

Patricia Lockwood
PERSON

moves back in with her parents due to a series of misfortunes that leave her and her husband penniless, and she spends the better part of

the year
DATE

watching how her family—and more specifically, how her father, a

Catholic
NORP

priest with an

Eccentric Personality
ORG

—works. Or doesn’t work. Or works! In the process, she interrogates the truths she grew up with and traces the path she took out of the church and into the world.


Lockwood
PERSON

is extremely good at writing, and her ability is on full display here. She can be irreverent, as here on rural accommodation:

"I had always through the words "hotel" and "motel" were synonyms, but as soon as I stepped across the threshold, I understood that a motel was grosser. It looked like the place where

Smokey the Bear
ORG

went to cheat on his wife."

But she can also be poignant, like when she discusses writing:

"On the page I am everything that I am not, because that is where I put myself. I am no longer whispering through the small skirted shape of a keyhole: the door is knocked down and the roof is blown off and I am aimed once more at the entire wide night."

She tends, however, more to the former, maybe to the detriment of the heart of the book. There are chapters and chapters of vaguely ominous-sounding but fundamentally toothless hijinks, and then there are a couple chapters of frank, touching discussion of the impact of her upbringing and the kind of person that she’s grown up to be—and then we close on more hijinks. I remember this structure being evident in No One Is Talking About This as well: frivolity in

the first half
DATE

, meaning in the

second
ORDINAL

. I think the balance was a little better there, though I wish that she did more to mix the

two
CARDINAL

.

In conclusion, let’s close the circle: here’s

Patricia Lockwood
PERSON

talking about

David Foster Wallace
PERSON

.