Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

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Priestdaddy

Father Greg Lockwood is a Catholic priest with very conservative views. He plays guitar too loudly (and badly), makes thunderous pronouncements and has a wife and five children (he was originally a Lutheran priest and then became a Catholic priest, and kept his wife and family through Vatican dispensation). He is Patricia Lockwood's Priestdaddy, an often self-centered patriarch whose life, if his wife is away, descends into willful chaos. A medical crisis causes Lockwood and her husband, Jason, to move into her parents' rectory for a while, providing a rich lode for mining the surrealism of her childhood and adulthood. Lockwood (Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals) exploits this perfect set-up for absurdity with verve, while exploring life's conundrums.

As a teenager, Lockwood had "grown timid in the face of my father's thunder." But she found herself in writing; she became a poet whose command of both lyricism and zaniness are beguiling: in her mother's closet she can "still find hangers with pro-life messages printed on them. The Midwest, contrary to popular opinion, does not lack a sense of irony." Priestdaddy is flamboyant, like Father Greg. At the same time, the graces of humor and familial love shine through. --Marilyn Dahl