My Father, the Pornographer

My Father, the Pornographer

A Memoir

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:

"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

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 novel reached its height.

With his dutiful wife serving as typist, Andrew wrote from their home in the Kentucky hills, locked away in an office no one dared intrude upon. In this fashion he wrote more than four hundred novels, including pirate porn, ghost porn, zombie porn, and secret agent porn. The more he wrote, the more intense his ambition became and the more difficult it was for his children to be part of his world.

Over the long summer of 2013, Chris returned to his hometown to help his widowed mother move out of his childhood home. As he began to examine his father's manuscripts and memorabilia, journals, and letters, he realized he finally had an opportunity to gain insight into the difficult, mercurial, sometimes cruel man he'd loved and feared in equal measure. Only in his father's absence could he truly make sense of the man and his legacy.

In My Father, the Pornographer , Offutt takes us on the journey with him, reading his father's prodigious literary output as both a critic and as a son seeking answers. This is a book about the life of a working writer who supports his family solely by the output of his typewriter; it's about the awful psychic burdens one generation unthinkingly passes along to the next; and it's about growing up in the Appalachian hills with a pack of fearless boys riding bicycles through the woods, happy and free.
Publisher: New York : Atria Books, [2016]
ISBN: 9781501112461
Characteristics: 261 pages ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Mar 14, 2017

A pleasant surprise. The title is misleading as it has little to do with pornography but instead a son examines the life work of a writer, his father. These are true characters. The Offutts' Andrew, the father and Chris the son. At times the story is dark, shockingly so. If anyone wants to think about writing for a living you should read this book. It is well written and fascinating in its content. I'll definitely be reading more of Chris Offutt's work.

Dec 14, 2016

A dark and interesting book.

Oct 16, 2016

Oh, poor me. I had a childhood and imperfect parents.

Cynthia_N Aug 08, 2016

I was disappointed with this book. The author was writing about his father but didn't really know his father so it all seemed like surface information.

Jul 28, 2016

Dark, dark book that not for kids. Author's father got into erotica by accident from the "I could write better than that!" under at least ten pseudonyms. Unhealthy sexual fetishes in his father's work. Blown away Andrew Offutt was a narcissistic domestic emotionally abusive tyrant that alienated almost everybody he met. Valkyria Andrew's last secret book read like it was written by some depraved criminal in maximum-security prison. Ugh.

LPL_DirectorBrad Jul 07, 2016

Completely absorbing memoir of a son and his father. Quick synopsis: a father dies and leaves his massive archive of erotic novels for his son to sort through. This book is a smart, honest look at the things in our lives that drive our compulsions and who we are and why. Do not let the the word 'pornographer' scare you away from this book--or lead you to it in hope for glimpses of content of a prurient nature. This book is a damn well written one on the life of a family in the backwoods of Kentucky in a wild and curious moment in American culture. Highly recommended!

Mar 17, 2016

Amazing writer telling a heart wrenching story. A fascinating story that is remarkable.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at MCPL

To Top