Like Giving Up Arson For Lent

Like Giving Up Arson For Lent

To Be Perfectly Honest

I received Phil Callaway’s book To Be Perfectly Honest in the middle of an afternoon on my day off. I put on water to boil pasta for lunch, telling myself that I would read a few pages and see what it was like. An unknown amount of time later, my dad came into my bedroom and asked if I was trying to humidify the house. My water had almost boiled away and I was many more than a few pages into the book. I finished it later that day, stopping only to drain the pasta (but not to eat it).

I don’t usually react audibly to books, I like to be quiet as a general rule, and prefer not to draw attention to myself. I work in a library. I also laughed aloud (rather loudly) for the first time on page ten. It was not the last time. Throughout the course of the book I laughed, cried and read parts aloud to my dog. She seemed to appreciate that.

It would be one thing if this book was only funny. It would be another if it was only (sometimes painfully) honest and vulnerable. It would be yet another if it were only relatable and convicting. It was all of these things. Phil Callaway has managed to write a book that explores honesty while being honest. He wonders, from time to time, if his vow means that he needs (or gets) to be painfully honest with people. For example: should he answer his wife honestly when she asks how she looks in horizontal stripes? Monetary problems come up as well, debts to friends that he has “conveniently forgotten” seem to float into his mind. Sometimes his failures to be completely honest seem to teach him more than being “perfectly honest.”

During the course of this book we also get to know certain characters in his life: his wife, kids, fellow churchgoers, friends and kids’ friends. Phil manages to craft a plot that we can follow and that held my interest in all these people and what would happen next. In fiction, that’s called plotting, in non-fiction, it’s called telling a good story.

Even beyond this, Phil, ever the comedian, put in stories that were just, frankly, funny. The book would not have been complete without them.

This book will stick with me, staying around in my home to be looked into again and again. I couldn’t put it down. Honest.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. If you should like my review and wish to rate it, please click here. I would be very grateful!

Here's a link to chapter one. Enjoy. As always, feedback is beloved. Oh, and should you like what I have to say about books, be sure to stay tuned for my books of the month round-up about what I'm reading each month, and check out my "Books to Read" page, over on the sidebar.

Happy Easter!