“A generous reminiscence . . . ruminative and melancholy . . . Offutt somehow manages to summon compassion for his father. That, ultimately, is what makes this memoir so unexpectedly moving.”
– The New York Times
“A literary detective story interwoven with memories of a youth riddled with sexual confusion and inarticulate yearning. . . . There is a touching universality to his tale and its mix of longing and despair . . . . In the end, the value of this haunting account lies in Offutt’s refusal to find a pat moral in his journey.”
– The Washington Post
"One of the most sensitive, nuanced examinations of father and son relationships I’ve read."
– Boston Globe
"A heartbreaking coming-of-age story . . . Many scenes rival the stories of Jeannette Walls or Mary Karr . . . . Awe-inspiring, tender, gut-wrenching, forgiving."
– Atlanta Journal Constitution
– New York Post
“Fascinating . . . funny, engaging.”
– St. Louis Post Dispatch
“[A] thoughtful, elegant memoir . . . While the beating heart of the book is its depiction of a complicated father-son relationship, it also [. . .] preserves a slice of forgotten literary life within its keenly felt, lyrical portrayal of a son wrestling with his father’s inheritance.”
“My Father, the Pornographer is contemporary memoir at its best. It achieves the rare miracle of re-creating the human heart on the page.”
– The Rumpus
“The least titillating book you’ll ever read about porn, and possibly the most interesting, Offutt’s memoir. . . [is] a loving if unsparing tribute to a very complicated father.”
– New York Magazine
"This is a frank, clear-eyed, but subtle memoir that works through raw emotion to arrive at an empathetic understanding of what fractures and binds families."
– Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"A heartbreaking tale about identity, overcoming fear, and forgiving someone more committed to his craft than his family."
“Everything Chris Offutt writes is beautiful and brilliant, but My Father, the Pornographer is an astonishing house of mysteries, and his most moving book yet. It's about family and secrets and a literal ton of pornography, but also, fascinatingly, what it means to make a writing life, whether high art or pulp.”
– Elizabeth McCracken
“Chris Offutt owns one of the finest, surest prose styles around, ready and able to convey the hardest truth without flinching. Now Offutt enters the darkest and most mysterious of places—the cave of a monstrous enigma named Andrew J. Offutt—armed with nothing but his own restless curiosity. Spoiler alert: He makes it out alive, walking into the daylight to bring us a deeper, funnier, more tender and more heartbroken truth—and his masterpiece.”
– Michael Chabon
“Chris Offutt has written the finest book of his distinguished career, a memoir that delivers an understanding of the complicated negotiations we must make between our obsessions and those mysterious others whom we call family. Direct, forceful, and completely unsentimental, this book goes on the short shelf of our best literature about fathers and sons.”
– Ann Packer, author of The Children's Crusade
"My Father the Pornographer is a brave, engaging, dangerous piece of work. An uncompromising examination of a writer's life, it raises questions both complex and haunting. Offutt is truly naked on the page, revealing his father's secret obsessions, and his own. I am lost in admiration for what he has done.”
– Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina
"With My Father, the Pornographer, Chris imparts many rich and hard-won lessons to his lucky readers. This is a memoir that's not only insightful but also funny, harrowing, and searingly honest."
– Curtis Sittenfeld, New York Times Bestselling Author
“The death of Chris Offutt's father left him with what amounted to a secret estate that redefined his family—and Chris himself. Only a writer of Offutt's caliber could transform that experience into this heartbreaking triumph. This is a must-read, an unforgettable and entirely original story.”
– Alexander Chee, author of The Queen of the Night
"With gripping precision, Chris Offutt tracks the hidden life of his brilliant, cruel and narcissistic father. My Father, the Pornographer is a son’s reckoning not only with a parent’s dark, often shocking secrets but with their human cost. This is an utterly absorbing and heartbreaking book."
– Honor Moore, author of The Bishop's Daughter
"Though his relationship with his father was distant, melancholic, and precarious, Offutt quite movingly weaves his personal history into a fascinating tapestry of a compulsive writer with a knack for the naughty."
– Kirkus Reviews