To Be Honest

To Be Honest

by Michael Leviton
To Be Honest

To Be Honest

by Michael Leviton


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A memoir about an unusual upbringing in a family fanatically devoted to honesty, and what came next

If you’re like most people, you probably lied today. It may have been a small one, some insignificant falsehood meant to protect someone’s feelings or guard your true thoughts. Now imagine if your parents had raised you to never lie, if they’d ingrained in you a compulsion to never, under any circumstances, withhold the truth or fail to speak your mind. It might be wonderfully freeing. Everyone else might not appreciate it so much.

To Be Honest is Michael Leviton’s extraordinary account of being raised in a family he calls a “little honesty cult.” For young Michael, his parents’ core philosophy felt liberating. He loved “just being honest.” By the time he was twenty-nine years old, Michael had told only three “lies” (by most people’s understanding of the word) in his entire life. But this honesty had consequences—in friendships, on dates, and at job interviews. And when honesty slowly poisoned a great romance, Michael decided there had to be something to lying after all. He set himself the task of learning to be as casually dishonest as the rest of us.

To Be Honest is a tender and darkly comic memoir about what it means and how it feels to tell more than the truth.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781419743054
Publisher: Abrams Press
Publication date: 01/05/2021
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 700,857
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Michael Leviton is a writer, musician, photographer, and storyteller. He is the host of the storytelling series and podcast The Tell. He has worked as a screenwriter and contributed music to television shows, including HBO’s Bored to Death.

Table of Contents


Part 1 Just Being Honest

Chapter 1 Most People 3

Chapter 2 My Miseducation 41

Chapter 3 Teenage Truths 63

Chapter 4 Family Camp 75

Part 2 An Honest Living

Chapter 5 Open Mic 113

Chapter 6 This Is Not Normal 129

Chapter 7 To Know Her Is to Love Her 179

Chapter 8 Uncomfortable Questions 209

Chapter 9 The Polite Way to Say No Is to Say Yes 221

Part 3 The Dishonest Days

Chapter 10 Forbidden Subjects 231

Chapter 11 This Is Normal 253

Chapter 12 The Mercy of Censorship 279

A Postscript on Truth


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