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My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir

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3.59  ·  Rating details ·  1,354 ratings  ·  272 reviews
When Andrew Offutt died, his son, Chris, inherited a desk, a rifle, and eighteen hundred pounds of pornographic fiction. Andrew had been considered the king of twentieth-century smut, with a writing career that began as a strategy to pay for his son's orthodontic needs and soon took on a life of its own, peaking during the 1970s when the commercial popularity of the erotic ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 9th 2016 by Atria Books
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3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,354 ratings  ·  272 reviews


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Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
After finishing My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir (some 30 minutes ago), I went to my husband to tell him a little about the book. "What an asshole!" is what we both kept saying from time to time. And at some point I had to stop because my eyes were stinging. What an asshole!

This book is good, extremely good! Having a weird, twisted, kind of f*cked up relationship with my own parents, I related to Chris Offutt in a way I did not expect. I started reading this book on a whim, after seeing it
...more
Sandra
Imagine this, your father passes away and you inherit his more than 400 books of porn he had written during his lifetime. 1800 pounds of porn.

That father was the prolific science fiction/fantasy/porn author Andrew J. Offutt. Having made a name in the sci-fi community, he started writing adult literature to get his kids through college, writing under several pseudonyms.
After his death, his son Chris acts as the curator for the whole archive, while at the same time assessing the difficult father-s
...more
Lee
Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
About 10 years ago the author was my teacher and now I know why he's so effed up (kidding!). One warm summer night on a back porch in Iowa City after dinner he told me a bit about his dad, who'd written something like 400 porn novels. I was totally engaged by the story (semi-incredulous too). After reading this article in the NYT about a year ago, I preordered the book as soon as I heard word of its existence. Just got around to it and am glad I did. Beyond the subject matter, there are so many ...more
Tiffany Reisz
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Touching and disturbing and heartbreaking and beautifully written.
Franco  Santos
El problema con las memorias es que son tan personales que es difícil que el lector sienta el valor y la importancia que les da su escritor. Las buenas memorias son aquellas que pueden, por alguna razón, provocar en alguien completamente ajeno un sentimiento de pertenencia.

Offutt no llegó a generar nada en mí. Es un simple libro de un hijo tratando de entender a un padre distante amante del porno. Sin embargo, no me voy a rendir con este autor puesto que me gustó mucho cómo escribe, así que voy
...more
Meike
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: usa, 2018-read
I loved Chris Offutt's Country Dark (which was criminally underappreciated in this year's award circuit) so much that I just had to read his memoir. Here, Offutt re-constructs the life of his father Andrew who supported his family writing science fiction and more than 400 pornographic novels and stories.

Coming from a humble background and living in rural Kentucky with his wife (they were married for over 50 years when he died!), Andrew Offutt was a complex character: An alcoholic obsessed with
...more
Laura
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
You know the saying don’t judge a book by its cover, in the case of this book, don’t judge it by its title. If this mom and wife living in the center of the Bible Belt can pick this title up, then anyone can and should. This is offutt’s memoir of growing up in Kentucky with a narcissist for a dad. The dad also happened to write hundreds of pornography books. This is a reflection of his childhood and how his environment influenced him. I think anytime an author is truthful and is willing to share ...more
jeremy
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
there are times in people's lives when a significant event occurs and they're not aware of it—the last time you pick up a son before he's too heavy, the final kiss of a marriage gone bad, the view of a beloved landscape you'll never see again. weeks later, i realized those were dad's last words to me.
chris offutt, author of kentucky straight and the same river twice (amongst others), was the son of noted and prolific science fiction/fantasy/porn/erotica author (and one time president of scienc
...more
Jesse
Offutt’s memoir/biography hybrid first piqued my interest after catching a few minutes of his conversation with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, where they discussed the unorthodox—and rather ingenious—habit his father developed as a kind of aid to his prodigious writing schedule (which eventually resulted in nearly 400 books published under a variety of pseudonyms):
TG: “After your father died and you went through his books, you found that he had a cataloging system for writing pornography - that he h
...more
Beverly
Sep 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Great book cover and an interesting family dynamic.
Rebecca
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very highly recommended memoir, that falls into the world of "you can't make this stuff up." I was very impressed by Chris Offutt's prose style (and would be interested in reading some of his fiction) and I also gained a lot of respect for him as a person based on this memoir. My only criticism was that I had a number of moments when I felt like certain issues were wrapped up abruptly. Inside my head, I kept thinking: "but then what happened?" Or: "but HOW can you reconcile those ideas/things/ ...more
Anna
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This one was like watching a car crash: harsh and fascinating at the same time. I suspect that should you have a troubled relationship with your father, it reads even harsher. Well written and paced, pretty much a one sitting affair. Although the unpleasant (to say the least) family dynamics get tougher to stomach chapter after chapter, they also offer glimpses into a writer's ridiculous amount of output, an interesting writing process, the late 60s – early 70s scifi scene, and, of course, porno ...more
Vicki
How does your understanding of your father change when you learn that he wrote more than 400 books in his lifetime -- most of them pornography? Upon his father's death, Chris Offutt (author of the critically acclaimed short story collection, Kentucky Straight) is left to sort through his father's office, which is filled with books, manuscripts, correspondence, comics, graphic novels, etc. Offutt's memoir is spare and incisive -- and occasionally heartbreaking -- as he seeks to understand his fat ...more
lit.erary.britt
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“The only correct perception of any situation was his. Disagreement sparked emotional combat and verbal abuse. It was incumbent upon his family to listen to him, agree with him, admire him, and give him attention bordering on awe.”

It’s always refreshing to read a memoir by an established author. I know you all know what I mean. His writing is fine-tuned, articulate, and entertaining. This is largely about Offutt’s strained relationship with his dad, but does delve into his father’s prolific por
...more
Dave
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not a happy book, but a good one. Offutt makes the story of his relationship with his sad and horrible father readable and vivid without dwelling unduly on the details of the pornography or overdoing the emotional and verbal abuse. A few examples of each are stark and awful enough.

The story is Offutt's attempt to figure out his father without denying the great relief he (and his whole family) felt when the man died. It's a narrow ledge to walk, and he does a great job of it, though you can feel
...more
Beth
May 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: deadohiosky
ARC supplied by publisher via Edelweiss

Offutt does not waste words or spare feelings, including his own, when he crafting this memoir. One of the few writers that tells a story about themselves that I'm never ready to finish.
Brad Watson
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great memoir by Offutt, who had to confront some awful secrets and demons from within and without in order to write this ultimately chilling and very moving book. Should have received even more attention than it did. Should have won major prizes. Maybe it didn't because it takes the hard road, no easy way out, no pabulum about triumphant epiphany. The truths he confronts here are painful, and the catharsis bittersweet. The triumph is that Offutt hung in there and finished what must have been a ...more
Mark
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks, memoir
The author knew his father was an incredibly prolific writer, pounding out a stunning amount of Sci-Fi and fantasy through the author's childhood and well into his adulthood. What he did not realize, was the fact that his father also wrote porn and a lot of it, 400-plus books, under different pseudonyms.
I had read a few good reviews of this memoir but I was not prepared for how deep this story goes and how prickly, domineering and unpleasant his relationship with his father went. After his fath
...more
Vincent Scarpa
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
(I mark it as "read," but I admittedly skimmed my way around the last third or so.)

I so wanted to enjoy this book, and the conceit promises quite an interesting tale, but ultimately I just found Offutt's unremarkable language and leaden pacing lending to the overall feeling that what's being explored in the text—essentially: how well do we or do we not know our parents—is in fact rather banal, even though the circumstances here seemed loaded for something more.
Rachel Watkins
Oct 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, arc, southern
Chris Offutt's memoir of his dad's life and the impact it had on the family is sharp as glass. Chris Offutt became a writer in part because his father was a writer, however their work and their obsessions are in stark contrast. This is the story of a boy who great up in rural Kentucky whose father's secret life wasn't fully revealed until after his death. You'll want to discuss this one - great for book clubs!
CoCo Massengale
This is a tough one to rate. It's like a 3.5. Chris Offutt's father was a strange and difficult man who was pretty much a narcissistic jerk. Buuuuut the memoir was definitely interesting and his family story is outrageous, but in a quiet way. The descriptions of his father's porn weirded me out a little, but I kind of expected it. I really enjoyed the details of the author's own life and writing journey. I recommend it, but not for he squeamish.
Nerak
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, memoir
Touching biography/memoir. Skim the chapter on the father’s porn output, the rest of the book is fascinating. Offutt is a genius writer.
Michelle
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Mining the particulars of his father's life in "My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir" led writer Chris Offutt to the realization that it was better to be the son of a pornographer than a serial killer. By the time he sorted through his deceased father's the massive porn archives, he seemed close to a mental breakdown, yet writing about his father's life and accepting his unconventional legacy became a project that he had to finish once he began.

His father, a college graduate from the University
...more
Leslie
May 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
One reviewer wrote, “ Seemed more like a catharsis for the author rather than a bio of the father.” Another reviewer wrote, “ This turned into a psychiatric session for the writer.” They’re right. In fact, the most interesting thing about this book was the title.
William Torgerson
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book, I realized just how much I don't like giving the star rating. I prefer to tell about my experience as I read, and let readers of the review decide if the book is for them. I like Goodreads for how it helps me keep notes on my reading life.

I read my way to this book after reading books such as Pat Conroy's The Death of the Great Santini and Andre Dubus III Townie. Both of those books were written by the sons of writers writing a lot about their fathers.

Offutt's language was a
...more
Michael Fischer
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Unique memoir. After his father's death, and following orders from his father's will, Chris Offutt archives his father's past as a pornographer. Andrew Offutt's porn prolificacy helped him write full-time; he was an award winning science fiction and fantasy writer, but only Chris's mother--who typed the manuscripts--knew the extent to which Andy wrote porn on the side under various pseudonyms.

Like a literary archivist, Chris conducts field research on his father's prodigious porn catalog. Andre
...more
Michael
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
I have tended to resist the wave of memoirs that have emerged over the last 20 years or so, once Augusten Burroughs and David Sedaris showed publishers how lucrative the genre could be. I find that the ones I've read follow a similar trajectory: fucked-up childhoods, absent or deficient parenting, substance addiction, all manner of sexual peccadilloes, culminating in an inspiring final section where the subject indicates she's doing her best to overcome it.

When I saw the title and capsule summar
...more
Simone
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-read

I know this got some great reviews, but honestly I'm not really quite sure what motivated me to pick it up from the library. I think it's because I was on hold for some other things, and I needed something to fill the gap. I'm not familiar with Chris Offset's other work, but man is this a whopper. This isn't a memoir about someone's father who happened to write porn, but was also a nice guy and a family man, this is about a guy who was something of a tyrant, who also sustained another world thro
...more
Lalona Hall
Dec 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
As my first Offutt read, I am thoroughly impressed. We received this as an advanced reader copy at Coffee Tree Books in Morehead, Kentucky. All of the booksellers have anxiously passed it around & I've already purchased two of his other works. The most resounding line for me is, "Every time I shoot, I think of my father's dismal talk of suicide, and how he drank himself to death while the shotgun rusted on the wall." To me, it sums up the dysfunctional relationship that he undoubtedly had wi ...more
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“There are times in people’s lives when a significant event occurs and they’re not aware of it—the last time you pick up a son before he’s too heavy, the final kiss of a marriage gone bad, the view of a beloved landscape you’ll never see again. Weeks later, I realized those were Dad’s last words to me.” 5 likes
“MY FATHER was a brilliant man, a true iconoclast, fiercely self-reliant, a dark genius, cruel, selfish, and eternally optimistic. Early in his sales career, a boss called him an “independent son of a bitch,” which Dad took as the highest compliment he’d ever received. He wanted me to be the same way. Dad had no hobbies, no distractive activities. He didn’t do household chores, wash the car,” 1 likes
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