Sonya Sones
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Sonya Sones What My Mother Doesn't Know To Be Perfectly Honest Facebook Sonya Sones Twitter Sonya Sones Sonya Sones Pinterest Instagram Sonya Sones Tumblr page
To Be Perfectly Honest
What's this book about?
  Why don't I let Colette tell you?
  My name is Colette.
This book is about
  Who am I?
To be perfectly honest,
I’m not exactly sure who I am.
  I guess you could say                                                                 
I’m the fifteen-year-old daughter                   
of an annoyingly famous movie star.
Or maybe
I’m the eighteen-year-old daughter
of a famous movie star’s stand-in.
Or maybe
I’m the thousand-year-old daughter
of a vampire…
Having trouble guessing
which one of these stories is true?
Join the club.
My friends
have a joke about me:
How can you tell if Colette is lying?
Her mouth is open.
To Be Perfectly Honest
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audio version • some poems
my inspiration for the book
I was a wicked good liar when I was in high school. I had to be. My mother was so worried I’d become a drug addict that she wouldn’t even let me go to the free rock concerts in the Boston Public Garden because, she said, there was a “bad element” there. By which she meant: hippies. And that was just one of the many things that I was forbidden to do—things which felt as necessary to my survival as air and food and water. So, in order to make my teen years bearable, I learned to lie.
One Saturday, when I was fifteen, a once in a lifetime opportunity fell right into my delighted lap. My parents had gone out of town for the weekend. And it just so happened that my best friend Betsy’s parents had also gone out of town. Right after they left, there was a snowstorm of historic proportions. That night, Betsy invited me (and a zillion other kids) over to her house for a gigantic snowball fight/sleepover. Wow! But I knew that my parents would never allow me to walk a mile to Betsy’s in the middle of a blizzard, even if they thought her parents were home. So, I called them and told them that the electricity had gone out and that the house was pitch dark and that I was petrified and couldn’t I please, please, please go to Betsy’s? How could they say no to that? They couldn’t!
I hung up the phone, pumped my fist in the air, then turned back every clock in the house fifteen minutes—so that when my parents returned on Sunday evening, there’d be “proof” that the electricity had failed. As I tramped to Betsy’s through the snow-hushed streets, I felt deliciously diabolical.
When I first began working on To Be Perfectly Honest, all I knew was that I wanted to create an obsessive love story that explored the theme of dishonesty—the effect that lies have on the people who are told them, and the effect that lies have on the people who tell them. And as soon as I started writing, I realized that Colette, a minor character from my novel One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies, would be the perfect unreliable narrator. Colette hadn’t told any lies in that book (at least not any that I was aware of), but I knew that she’d be the sort of girl who’d have an excellent reason to lie a lot. Because, as Colette tells us, she’s got “a very bad case of Daughter-of-a-Famous-Movie-Star Disorder.” So she lies to escape out from under her mother’s massive shadow, and to make herself seem more fascinating than she feels she actually is.
My mother wasn’t a famous movie star, but as a teenager I often felt monumentally unfascinating. So it was easy for me to understand how Colette felt. And like Colette, I was a highly skilled liar. I’m not a liar anymore, but I still love making up stories. I guess that’s one of the reasons I became an author.
Copyright 2004-. Sonya Sones. All rights reserved.