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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About the Author
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