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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

This thread is for open discussion of Priestdaddy: A Memoir, by Patricia Lockwood.

NOTE: As usual in our group, book threads may contain spoilers.

So, let's talk about it...


message 2: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 10, 2018 03:34PM) (new)

I'm a little nervous about this one. That dad seems a little scary to me, and a bit too close in demeanor to my own father. Nevertheless, I'll be reading it next week. Please, start without me.

EDIT: The only similarities between my father and Lockwood's were that they were both conservative and stubborn.


message 3: by Alison (new)

Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 451 comments Priestdaddy is an extraordinary book. Lockwood is a poet and approaches uncomfortable situations with humor. I'm going to use it's inclusion in the tournament to buy a copy - I covered the library copy with those little post-it strips as there were so many memorable passages.


message 4: by Peebee (new)

Peebee | 68 comments Just read Educated first, and the priestdaddy will seem like a piece of cake!


message 5: by Peebee (new)

Peebee | 68 comments OK, I’ll bite....here’s my review of Priestdaddy:


So....really all you need to know about this book is who blurbed it: Mary Karr, Jenny Lawson, Joss Whedon, and Andy Richter. In fact, if it were genetically possible to create a fertilized egg from four people's DNA (instead of waiting for all four to show up through grandchildren), I'd be more likely to believe Lockwood was spawned from these four instead of her married Catholic priest father and hypochondriac mother.

Lockwood's writing is incomparable. I constantly had to keep stopping and recite hilariously sarcastically brilliant turns of phrase to my boyfriend (which I'm sure annoyed him after a while but they also made him laugh.) The chapters are sometimes a little scattered, but still form a cohesive narrative somehow.....I figure that's the most you can expect from a poet who writes much shorter pieces than a novel or even a short story, but her writing is so inspired that she can often keep poem-quality phrases and images coming for close to an entire chapter. It was occasionally dense and hard to read quickly, but that's typically because everything was chock-full of some of the most exquisitely chosen language I've ever read, and I wanted to savor it all. I can see it being a little too much for some, especially if you consider yourself deeply religious or deeply Catholic, but if you're an irreverent heathen like me, I think you'll love it.

Oh yeah, the scene involving Tricia and her mother staying in a Hyatt Place....one of the funniest things I've ever read in my life. I couldn't breathe right for a half hour or so during and after reading it, since I coughed up so much phlegm laughing hysterically.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 602 comments My review of Priestdaddy is a bit long, but I will post behind a spoiler tag. But really I just want to say this is GREAT in audio and that's what I would recommend.

(view spoiler)

Also, isn't it interesting (or typical?) that 2/3 of the memoirs are based around daddy-daughter story lines.


message 7: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 11, 2018 03:01PM) (new)

I'm two hours into the audio, and I don't know how much more I can take. The pervasive sarcasm isn't funny to me, just mean-spirited, and it obscures all emotion so that everyone appears to be a caricature. I'm hoping to get to the brilliance that so many of you found in this book, but it's not looking promising.

EDIT: I gave it another hour before giving up on it. I tried to like it, and then to at least get through it, but this one just is not for me.


message 8: by Gwendolyn (new)

Gwendolyn | 159 comments Tina, whew, I’m glad I’m not alone! I also listened to this as an audiobook. I was able to finish it, but it was a struggle. There was something negative and off-putting in the tone throughout the book. Also, some of the crude details about the family’s daily life turned me off of the book, and I have a pretty thick skin generally when it comes to those kids of things. This one just didn’t work for me at all.


message 9: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 10, 2018 03:35PM) (new)

Gwendolyn wrote: "Tina, whew, I’m glad I’m not alone! I also listened to this as an audiobook. I was able to finish it, but it was a struggle. There was something negative and off-putting in the tone throughout the ..."

Yes! I'm not the only one in the group who didn't love this book! I tried to get through it, but my dislike was quickly turning to hate, so I bailed. I don't mind dark or crude humor, but in this book, the story, the characters, the emotions all seemed to take second place to the laugh lines. It was like an obnoxious sitcom.


message 10: by Peebee (new)

Peebee | 68 comments Something to ponder....I’m wondering if a humorous book (especially one that’s crude) ends up registering differently as an audiobook than a book that you physically read.

(I can’t do audiobooks — I end up tuning them out — but just wonder if it’s more off-putting to hear it than to read it.)


message 11: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 10, 2018 08:31PM) (new)

Interesting point, Peebee. The audio was recorded by Patricia Lockwood, so she was in control of the tone. It was her story as she wanted to tell it. I probably would have liked the book better in print, or at least I might have disliked it less.


message 12: by Peebee (new)

Peebee | 68 comments Yeah, definitely....it’s just that she’s a poet and I just loved some of the language that she wrote. I remember stopping and re-reading certain passages. (I also remember laughing uncontrollably in my living room and being glad I wasn’t on a plane, as I often am when reading. I ended up having to read a bunch to my boyfriend after I laughed so much he was curious.)

But I’m not a huge stand-up comedy fan and realize the delivery makes a lot of difference as to whether I find something to be funny or I end up offended. So it just made me curious about those who do audiobooks and how much the tone or delivery impacts your enjoyment of the book.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

I found Lockwood's humor mean-spirited, but I wasn't offended. I just didn't find it funny, and it got in the way of the story for me. It's not uncommon for me to dislike a wildly popular book, so I'll just add this to the "not for me" list.


message 14: by Lola (new)

Lola | 118 comments Peebee wrote: "Something to ponder....I’m wondering if a humorous book (especially one that’s crude) ends up registering differently as an audiobook than a book that you physically read.

(I can’t do audiobooks ..."


This is an excellent point-I definitely find that my perception of a book can be much different from one format to another. This is why I can't personally consider books that I've listened to as "read". For me, listening is a very different experience that reading from the page. This book got a great deal of positive buzz from Book Riot staff members; of the ones I heard give it high praise, all highly recommended listening because of Lockwood's performance. I am really enjoying the commentary here. And I've yet to read/listen.


message 15: by judy-b. (new)

judy-b. judy-b. (judyb11) | 23 comments (I can’t personally consider books that I've listened to as "read"."

This is interesting to me. Maybe it's splitting hairs? I am with you that reading and being read to are different experiences, but one is not inherently more authentic or truly literary than the other. Remember, storytelling began as an oral tradition.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 602 comments judy-b. wrote: "(I can’t personally consider books that I've listened to as "read"."

This is interesting to me. Maybe it's splitting hairs? I am with you that reading and being read to are different experiences, ..."


This could be perceived as ableism too. I see listening as reading ... Especially considering that is the only option for some.


message 17: by Peebee (new)

Peebee | 68 comments I don't see one as inherently better than the other, just different in a way that could emphasize or diminish certain characteristics. We know from education that people take in information and learn differently, even before taking into account disabilities which can impact a particular sense.

For me, I can't listen to voices outside of one-on-one conversation very well. When I attend a seminar or training, if the presenter doesn't have slides or written materials to accompany the speaking, I will retain a fraction of what I will if I can see and read the info in addition to hearing it.

So I find audiobooks disorienting, especially if I can't finish in one sitting. I can never remember where I was at. When I was asked to dictate, I couldn't do that either. I had to engage with the page in some way. I don't even really like most movies or stand-up comedy.

It seems particularly important with humor, as the tone and inflection matter in a way they don't on the page. And the quality of the writing also can be better absorbed from the page. (I've heard lots of funny things that if I read a transcript of, I wouldn't consider well-written. And things that I considered well-written on paper, that when someone read it to me out loud, I didn't laugh at the right places.

It just struck me as what I loved so much about Priestdaddy, the elegant yet sarcastic turns of phrase, might not come through the same way. But with the author reading it, you will probably get different things out of it (which may or may not be to your liking either.)


message 18: by Alison (new)

Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 451 comments Like Lorraine, I don't count audiobooks as books I've read. It's not ablism - I don't absorb or inhabit books I listen to in the way I do the written word, so for me they are less effective. On the other hand, my son will remember far more about a book he's read with his ears than one he's read with his eyes, so it's clearly something that varies from person to person.

Will any of you who disliked Lockwood's tone try the book as an eyeball-book? I read it as a physical book and it read to me as enormously compassionate and understanding of her family, and not at all offensive or mean. To me, it was both funny and poignant and full of heart.


message 19: by [deleted user] (last edited Apr 11, 2018 02:58PM) (new)

Alison wrote: "Will any of you who disliked Lockwood's tone try the book as an eyeball-book?"

So far, only Gwendolyn and I are in the "disliked her tone" club. It's a big ask for me to try the print version. I can't "unhear" Lockwood's voice, so it's unlikely that my feelings about the book will change. It was a chore on the first try, so giving it a second go...ugh.

Still, you wouldn't ask unless you think I'm missing out on a great book, so okay. I just put the print version on hold at the library. I'm #98 on 24 books. My number probably won't come up before the pop up in May, but that's a good thing. I have a tall stack of library books and a loaded queue of digital ARCs to read in the next few weeks. Maybe time will blur my first impression, and I'll be able to find the heart in Priestdaddy on the second try.


message 20: by Matthew (new)

Matthew | 76 comments I read this in print and had very mixed feelings about it. On the one hand there are quite a few laugh out loud sequences (I agree with Peebee about the Hyatt Place scene - so funny!). Lockwood can really turn a phrase and I can see why she'd be a draw on Twitter. I'm also interested in her poetry now.

On the other hand I had a hard time with the tone/approach regarding her father. It seemed inconsistent to the point I was distracted by it. I get that it's a complicated relationship, but I found him so vile and ignorant and hateful that eventually I couldn't find anything funny in scenes where we're supposed to be amused by his "quirks." Couldn't see the redeeming qualities beneath the brash exterior. I just wanted to hear nothing more about him, ever. Almost had to set the book aside, but it's probably more my issue than any fault of the book.

Her mother was a far more interesting character; would've liked more about that relationship instead.


message 21: by Gwendolyn (new)

Gwendolyn | 159 comments I’m willing to give Priestdaddy another shot (in print this time instead of audio), but I’m not sure I’ll get to it by May. The hold list is so long at the library, and this probably doesn’t qualify as a book I’d spend money on, especially since I already own the audiobook.

I’m starting to wonder if my real issue with Priestdaddy may be a more systemic/general issue I’m having with father-daughter books involving a heavy dose of religion. In addition to recently listening to Priestdaddy, I’m also listening to Educated by Tara Westover, which also involves a complex father-daughter relationship along with some unusual religious ideas. In a similar vein, I’m almost finished reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. Yes, these are all very different books, but all of the fathers seem to share some characteristics I’m reacting negatively to (they are self-focused and manipulative, basically). My thoughts about all three books are not helped by having read all three essentially in parallel.

For the first TOB non-fiction tournament, I would’ve hoped for more diverse books. Priestdaddy and Educated seem too close to me. Maybe it’s better if the tournament organizers choose the books instead of allowing us to vote? Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have something like The Line Becomes a River or The Cooking Gene mixed in? I’m interested in others’ thoughts on this point.


message 22: by judy-b. (new)

judy-b. judy-b. (judyb11) | 23 comments Gwendolyn wrote: "For the first TOB non-fiction tournament, I would’ve hoped for more diverse books.... Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have something like The Line Becomes a River or The Cooking Gene mixed in?"

YES!


message 23: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 126 comments Gwendolyn wrote: "I’m willing to give Priestdaddy another shot (in print this time instead of audio), but I’m not sure I’ll get to it by May. The hold list is so long at the library, and this probably doesn’t qualif..."

I agree with you about the similarities of this with Educated. This can make for an interesting discussion, but it would have been nice to have a different kind of book in the tournament.


message 24: by Lola (last edited Apr 14, 2018 09:52PM) (new)

Lola | 118 comments judy-b. wrote: "(I can’t personally consider books that I've listened to as "read"."

This is interesting to me. Maybe it's splitting hairs? I am with you that reading and being read to are different experiences, ..."


For me, it has nothing to do with authenticity or one format being better than the other. I'm not in the camp that considers audiobooks "cheating." For me, the way I consume the material affects my experience and perception. I read with my eyes and listen with my ears and which one I do for a particular book shapes my opinion. There are two books from this year's ToB that I both listened to in full and read in full-Lincoln in the Bardo and Exit West and I was so glad that I experienced each of those in both formats; I loved taking in the material in each of these ways. For White Tears, I read some and listened to some-from each format I gained something that I missed in the other format. Definitely not a matter of splitting hairs for me.


message 25: by Lola (new)

Lola | 118 comments Jenny (Reading Envy) wrote: "judy-b. wrote: "(I can’t personally consider books that I've listened to as "read"."

This is interesting to me. Maybe it's splitting hairs? I am with you that reading and being read to are differe..."


It is not abliest-I am speaking about my personal experience. I don't consider that *I* read a book if *I* have listened to it-I am not stating this as universal fact.


message 26: by judy-b. (new)

judy-b. judy-b. (judyb11) | 23 comments Lorraine wrote: "It is not abliest-I am speaking about my personal experience...."

Just to clarify, the way Goodreads quotes text has attributed words to me I did not say. I did not suggest that @Lorraine's point of view is ableist (though I understand that perspective), and it was someone else who said they don't consider a book read if they listen to it; I was replying to that.


message 27: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1655 comments I’m starting Priestdaddy in ebook today as I couldn’t locate an audio version. I definitely count my audio book in my yearly tally though there was a time I might have sniffed at it. A reduction in free reading time as well as more practice has trained my ear to equal or greater benefit from the auditory experience now. I’ve also become more sensitive to a number of friends and family members who wouldn’t be consuming literature if it weren’t for audio versions and I’m always a fan for more “readers.”


message 28: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 126 comments I finished this book over the weekend, and it grew on me. As a practicing, cradle Catholic, I was put off in the beginning when the author kept on making sweeping generalizations about Catholics. I had to remind myself that not everyone grew up in a more liberal parish like myself. I am glad that I powered through this one. There were some really beautiful sections that I would have missed if I had given up earlier.


message 29: by Peggy (new)

Peggy | 170 comments I read Priestdaddy when it first came out, but it was a three-star for me and kind of meh overall. Yes, some of the writing was just amazing and leaped off the page; yes, some of her descriptions were laugh-out-loud funny. But it didn't add up to enough for me. I felt like she went into minute, excruciating detail with some events that actually weren't central and then circled around other events that needed some digging into. I especially felt this with her father--it's called Priestdaddy, yet I didn't feel she really confronted her feelings for him, which must be complex to say the least, or reflected fully on his actions. It's weird because it's not like I wanted to spend more time with him as he was just horrific for the most part. Still, I felt she dug deeper into her relationship with her mother. So, yeah, this didn't totally work for me.

Conversely, I'm halfway through Educated and think it's pretty darn amazing (and harrowing).


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Link to discussion of the first half of Priestdaddy on the Rooster site: https://themorningnews.org/article/th...


message 31: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Womack | 35 comments Gwendolyn wrote: "Maybe it’s better if the tournament organizers choose the books instead of allowing us to vote?"

I am very interested to hear what you think about this! We wanted to try out something a little different for this. Is it working for people?


message 32: by [deleted user] (last edited May 22, 2018 08:23AM) (new)

Link to TMN discussion of the second half of Priestdaddy: https://themorningnews.org/article/th...


message 33: by Jan (new)

Jan (janrowell) | 1058 comments Andrew wrote: "Gwendolyn wrote: "Maybe it’s better if the tournament organizers choose the books instead of allowing us to vote?"

I am very interested to hear what you think about this! We wanted to try out some..."


The issue with voting, of course, is that we tend to end up with the most buzzed about books rather than the most interesting and significant ones. I think I would have preferred a broader range of titles, but then again, Hunger was my top choice. Really, there are just so many damn books out there (apologies to Drew & Christopher) that you guys could probably have played pin the tail on the donkey with that original list and we would have had a great mini tournament. I've three memoirs have all been great and the discussions by you, Rosecrans and Sarah have been wonderful. Thanks!


message 34: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1655 comments the summer books were announced in the Rooster e-mail today as well ---> I've started a new folder here


message 35: by [deleted user] (last edited May 22, 2018 04:33PM) (new)

Amy wrote: "the summer books were announced in the Rooster e-mail today as well ---> I've started a new folder here"

Thanks! I had already been to the Rooster site when I got the email, so I skipped it. I like the choices—three were on my TBR, and three were unfamiliar to me. I'll add them to our group bookshelf.


message 36: by Jan (new)

Jan (janrowell) | 1058 comments Thanks, @Amy and @Tina!


message 37: by Gwendolyn (new)

Gwendolyn | 159 comments Andrew, I know you were responding to my initial note about this, so I’ve already voiced my opinion, but I wanted to jump back in now that we’ve made it through all the discussions (except for the last one). I continue to feel strongly that the non-fiction pop-up would have been better without a vote. A choice by voting will always lead to the most talked-about books being chosen, and what I love most about the TOB is that it’s such a great combination of popular books and unknown (but highly interesting or unusual) books. This magical combination was lacking here, and I missed it, though I do think all three titles were worthy. Maybe have a vote to determine 2 out of the 3 titles and then let you all choose the 3rd to round out the selection? That could be a compromise. What do you all think?


message 38: by Ruthiella (new)

Ruthiella | 340 comments Gwendolyn wrote: "Maybe have a vote to determine 2 out of the 3 titles and then let you all choose the 3rd to round out the selection? That could be a compromise. What do you all think?"

I would make it a vote to determine only 1 out of the three, but either way I think that sounds like a great compromise Gwendolyn!


message 39: by Andrew (last edited May 23, 2018 08:38PM) (new)

Andrew Womack | 35 comments Jan wrote: "Andrew wrote: "Gwendolyn wrote: "Maybe it’s better if the tournament organizers choose the books instead of allowing us to vote?"

I am very interested to hear what you think about this! We wanted ..."


Thank you so much! We enjoyed it a lot, and hope you enjoy Friday's wrap-up as well. (We're in the midst of editing it right now.)

I hope we can do this again. Though I don't think it can come quite so soon on the heels of the ToB. I imagine something in the fall would be better.

I also agree about the voting. I liked what we read, yes, but I also like the idea of springing something on everyone that might be more unexpected.


message 40: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Womack | 35 comments Gwendolyn wrote: "Andrew, I know you were responding to my initial note about this, so I’ve already voiced my opinion, but I wanted to jump back in now that we’ve made it through all the discussions (except for the ..."

I like this idea a LOT.


message 41: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Womack | 35 comments Ruthiella wrote: "Gwendolyn wrote: "Maybe have a vote to determine 2 out of the 3 titles and then let you all choose the 3rd to round out the selection? That could be a compromise. What do you all think?"

I would m..."


Possibly this as well! Something where we all get a say in what we read. Perhaps our visiting author picks one, ToB staff picks one, readers pick one. Vini vidi vici.


message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

Alison wrote: "Will any of you who disliked Lockwood's tone try the book as an eyeball-book?"

I kept my word, Alison. I got the print version of Priestdaddy from the library yesterday. I'm sorry to report that I didn't like it much better than the audio, and I resorted to skimming to get through it. I did find Lockwood more compassionate and relatable in the second half. There are some genuinely funny scenes, but I couldn't set aside my negative impressions from the audio.


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