From Midwest Book Review:

Almost the Truth: Stories and Lies is a humorous memoir that moves into literary fiction as Aaron Zevy presents a blend of fun personal insights, life reflections, and vignettes that tantalize the senses with their sense of joie de vievre and astute observation. Readers looking for a memoir that crosses the line between truth and lie for the sake of entertainment, enlightenment, and fun reflection will find Almost the Truth departs from the normal staid memoir format in favor of a fun observational romp through life.

Take the hilarious opening line to 'Crossing the Nile', for example. It draws readers in with a family probe that is anything but a usual Jewish holiday gathering scenario: "My nieces and I play a drinking game at our Passover Seder. As I am both wifeless and childless, in addition to lacking the requisite maturity, I sit in the children’s section directly across from my brother who sits at the head of the table with the rest of the adults."

As it evolves into a piece that considers both serious Seder rituals and Aaron Zevy's zany interpretations, readers receive a fun survey of his ability to celebrate life in unusual, creative ways: "...we are required to drink four glasses of wine—two before dinner and two after. But we decided to supplement the religious rites by adding a twist of our own. We would take a drink when triggered by specific words or actions of our fellow Seder participants. In other words, our family and close friends. I don't really want to throw any of them, or my nieces for that matter, under the bus by divulging any of those triggers but suffice it to say the word “colonoscopy” alone has gotten them drunk long before the pickled brisket is served."

'Golfing with Toby Zeigler' is another missive that readily admits the embellishments and detriments in the original story, offering tidbits of cultural and social reflection that are hilarious in the retelling: "...this woman, the wife, is at Harbourfront one afternoon and stumbles upon Richard Schiff sitting on a bench eating a pretzel. I don’t know if he was actually eating a pretzel but I include it in the telling. It establishes his New York City bonafides." The essence of a superior story often lies in such details, and as the piece evolves, even readers with no interest in golf and no prior knowledge of who Toby Zeigler is will find Zevy's account compelling: "Richard Schiff replies and says thank you very much, he would love to golf but he is working on the shoot during the week and the only time which works would be Saturday afternoon. At this point Steve should have written back and said, “Amazing, I will send a limo to pick you up. We are playing with my friend Ron, who is a huge fan, and we are both really looking forward to it.” But he didn’t write that."

There's a surprise twist at the end which proves that despite its title, the essay is more about getting screwed than playing golf. And therein lies the collection's power—its ability to draw readers with an anticipated scenario, only to have the actual subject prove to be something greater than the lure of the piece's title or initial subject.

This approach translates to great writing. It's entertaining, it's funny, it's culturally revealing, and it's steeped in the unexpected.

Almost the Truth: Stories and Lies is uniformly one of the more creative, satisfyingly reads of 2020. Readers who enjoy wry humor and life observations that depart from any anticipated pathway will delight in Aaron Zevy's collection, which is often politically or culturally incorrect in delightful ways.

-Diane Donovan

Senior Reviewer