I recently read To Be Perfectly Honest by Phil Callaway. First, the “bad” news. I didn’t love this book, but I have to say that with two disclaimers. I wasn’t familiar with the author, so I didn’t realize the tone of this book would be a tongue-in-cheek exploration of the whole experiment of truth telling. Instead, I was expecting the book to be a deeper exploration of the results of completely telling the truth for a year. Also, as a single female, I wasn’t this book’s primary audience, so I just didn’t connect fully with the content.
Now, the good news. I actually did find value in the book. It took me awhile to settle into the tone, but once I did, I enjoyed it. I found myself laughing aloud many times while I was reading it, and even if all of the author’s illustrations didn’t resonate with me, I found myself identifying with his truthful frustration with people and situations, his questioning of the way that God directs our paths, and his wrestling with truth-telling and what that entails. In the end, I decided that the tone was helpful. The more serious exploration that I was originally expecting would have been just too heavy to make good reading.
The book also contains great insight throughout. By the artful use of humorous stories, the author does bring important truths to light. You’re not going to get preached at if you read this book, but there will be moments where you just sit back and say, “Hmm…” For example, he talks about his experiences at church and with other believers at church, and after one story he reflects, “Not exactly the kind of uplifting stuff I was hoping for at church, but sometimes the truth is not therapy.”
So, the bottom line is that if you are expecting a serious sociological discussion about the role of truth telling in our society, this is not the book for you. But, if you want a light-hearted read with some pithy take away truth, then this is a good read, especially if you are a man who has been married for awhile.
Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of the book by Waterbrook Press in exchange for an honest book review.