Review: To Be Perfectly Honest

We live in an age where we are constantly bombarded with media. When I was younger, all of the media that I encountered was about celebrities and rich people. People I had never met and never expected to meet. But, with the advent of facebook and twitter, I am now surrounded by media that centers on my friends, the people I knew growing up, my neighbors, the people I see every day or every week. And do you know what they post? They post the good stuff in their lives. They post all of the things that make them seem like everything is going well. They post the pretty pictures, and the exciting updates. They often fail to mention the really difficult struggles they are facing, or how they have sinned during the day. And I’m guilty, too. Not many people want to broadcast to the world their shortcomings. But, it is only through sharing our shortcomings that God’s grace makes more sense.

To Be Perfectly Honest: One Man’s Year of Almost Living Truthfully Could Change Your Life. No Lie by Phil Callaway is refreshing because it is a man trying to be honest for a whole year. It is a book filled with the things that went well, but it is countered with all of the times he had to bite his tongue, or go back and apologize, or restart his journey. It is real. It is human. It reminds me that I’m not alone in the fight against my flesh.

I loved this book. I read it in one day, which is saying a lot for me. At the beginning I was a bit hesitant. It is written by a Christian humorist, so of course it is funny and really enjoyable to read, but I often like to delve into books that make me think and ponder and maybe wrinkle my brow a bit. Phil Callaway’s humor doesn’t make me wonder so much as it makes me laugh out loud, read portions to my husband, and overall just enjoy the book. At first that made me uncomfortable, because I didn’t know what I was going to walk away with from this book, and that made me wonder whether it was worth my time. It was. In the midst of the funny stories and the ups and downs of Phil’s life, I found myself approached with hard issues that I too struggle with. Learning how to live in grace, learning to interact with others honestly and confront those who are wrong, learning to share my faith even when it scares me to death. This book doesn’t preach at you, but it slips in some very profound messages that need to be a part of our every day lives. As wired as we are these days to live vicariously through other people, and follow their every move, this book allows you to do just that with someone who communicates his human failures and reminds you that it isn’t about us, it’s about God. It’s not on us to make it through this life okay, it’s on God’s grace.

We are wired to find our delight in God alone. His commands aren’t joy-killers; they are for our protection and our pleasure.

The Bible teaches that through Jesus’ life and death, we are forgiven. It has nothing to do with our performance and everything to do with accepting the Savior. I am not accepted because I’m so wonderful, but because he is. 

The one critique I have of the book is that I didn’t always feel that the writing fit with the premise. I expected there to be a lot more instruction and writing about honesty and lying. But, in my opinion, bringing it back to grace and the cross is what we really need anyway, so I wasn’t much bothered by the difference.

If you’re still not sure if you want to read the book, you can go ahead and read the first chapter here – enjoy!!


I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group to review. I received it through their Blogging for Books program which allows bloggers to sign up and receive free books in order to write reviews for the Publishing house. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

{read winter 2012}

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