Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book Review for To Be Perfectly Honest by Phil Callaway

To Be Perfectly Honest: One Man's Year of Almost Living Truthfully Could Change Your Life. No Lie.

Phil Callaway is a really funny man and his book, To Be Perfectly Honest, is a really funny book. The premise of his book came from his editor who wanted him to write a book about telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, for an entire year. Callaway writes in diary form about each day of the year (he did miss day 210. I don't know if it was on purpose or not. Maybe he was unconscious for that day).

At first Phil is unsure how to proceed with his vow of honesty.

Day 10. If I am to tell the unpolished truth and live with complete integrity all year, must I pay back those I have wronged or cheated in the past? Does this mean apologizing to fellow golfers who thought I beat them fair and square, when in truth I cheated? How many years back does one go? Isn't there a statute of limitations on this sort of thing? My entire year could be spent confessing past sins. (pg.9)

I have to admit that I admire his willingness to let the rest of us see just how human he is. Makes me feel less uniquely sinful.

Day 23. Was going to read a C.S. Lewis book to expand my mind and strengthen my faith. But decided to play Pac-Man instead. I was doing quite well at it, navigating the maze, gulping dots, tossing back little blue creatures....(pg. 13)

He also admits to daydreaming through sermons and hypocritically singing praise and worship songs when he feels like neither praising nor worshiping. His friends decide to take advantage of his honesty and he starts getting pummeled with e mails:

Day 31. Neil wanted to hear about my most embarrassing moment, and Nick wondered about my biggest fear....

(to Neil): I once deliberately frightened a man whom I thought was someone else. I awoke with a snort during a sermon...(pg. 19)

There's plenty to throw your head back and laugh about but Calloway balances it out with many a story that is sobering. I was glad to know I'm not the only one in the world that can make up scenarios about people who wronged me and brood over it for hours. He also admitted how he, a happily married man,  naively befriended a woman who had something more than friendship on her mind. I'll let you find out how that ends when you read his book. (The guy is trying to make a buck).

I was also glad to know that I'm not the only egotist who considered rating her own book reviews just to give them a boost.

He makes poor choices with his money, admits that he prays differently out loud in front of others than when he's alone and questions God for allowing his loved ones to suffer.

Not to give anything away, but he does make it to the 365th day. I don't think I need to say anymore about this book except that it was a quick read because I didn't want to put it down, not for the suspense but for the sheer hilarity of his writing.

I've never read anything written by Phil Calloway before but I personally plan on purchasing more. We all need humor and this writer provides a good dose of laughter for the soul. The Bible says that our Lord is singing over us with delight. I believe as  G.K Chesterton does, that He is also laughing.

Please take the time to rank my review:

I recieved a complimentary copy of this book from Multnomah Books in exchange for my honest review.
If you buy this book please do so by clicking on the link below so I can received a percentage of the cost.  Thanks!!


  1. Once again you've written a review that makes me want to immediately get the book. I am curious if he got into the whole philosophy of what is truth and if he defines it and how. You'll have to bring Derrida into the discussion HA! "Jacques Derrida's treatment of the philosophy of language tries to say that meaning is never fixed in a way that allows us to effectively determine it. " Because I feel a lot of times people's perceptions play into their truth (not to say there isn't an ultimate truth because there is) but how does one know they are being truthful? For instance a simple example how people perceive each other--one thinks one is stuck up for never speaking while that person is actually painfully shy. I'm curious how his perceptions played into the truth, but maybe this is a much more light hearted book then a "deep" questioning of what truth is.

  2. In the scenario you just described,the truth would be the person was actually shy. He meant that he wanted to be as good as his word. Not laugh at jokes he didn't think was funny, not deceive others etc.
    Even if your viewpoint is perceptual it's not a lie to give your honest take on something.
    Thanks for the deep response!! I'm glad to know there's others out there who like to philosophize;)

  3. I try and be truthful, but sometimes I go with ommission instead.

  4. In the words of Mr. Spock: It's not a lie to keep the truth to one's self.

  5. I enjoyed your review and review style from the previous posts I just read. Thank You!

  6. Thanks, Rick. Have a great weekend!


I welcome comments from anyone with a mutual interest in the subjects I written about.