A candid memoir of denial, stolen identities, betrayal, faking it, and coming out.
Do you know me?, the email began, sparking tremors of fear that turned into a full quake of panic when William Dameron discovered that his selfie had been stolen by strangers. On social
networks and dating sites, his image and identity—a forty-year-old straight white male—had been used to hook countless women into believing in lies of love and romance. Was it all an ironic cosmic
joke? Almost a decade prior, William himself had been living a lie that had lasted for more than twenty years. His secret? He was a gay man, a fact he hid from his wife and two daughters for almost
as long as he had hidden it from himself.
In this emotional and unflinchingly honest memoir of coming out of the closet late in life, owning up to the past, and facing the future, William Dameron confronts steroid addiction, the shame and
homophobia of his childhood, the sledgehammer of secrets that slowly tore his marriage apart, and his love for a gay father of three that would once again challenge the boundaries of trust. At the
true heart of The Lie is a universal story about turning self-doubt into self-acceptance and about pain, anger, and the long journey of both seeking and giving forgiveness.
“Dameron inverts the typical catfishing tale of woe…[his] prose truly shines, with the awe of a child realizing himself, and the impossibility of that self…It’s a poem of a book that refuses, thankfully, to resolve.” —Lambda Literary
William Dameron’s memoir is an unflinchingly honest and brave work that explores the secrets and lies of his lifetime as a married, closeted Southern man. But like all good books, it’s really about so much more. I dare anyone who reads it to not think of their own struggles to admit who we truly are at heart. In a way, The Lie is a coming-of-age story that reminds us it’s never too late to become our true selves. —Ann Hood, New York Times bestselling author of The Book That Matters Most: A Novel
At once brutal and beautiful, William Dameron’s memoir unearths layers of secrets and decades of deception in startling, vivid prose. The Lie could not be more honest. —Augusten Burroughs, New York Times bestselling author of Running with Scissors
In his first memoir, William Dameron shares a little-understood experience in queer life: that of the closeted parent. Writing with uncommon grace and compassion, Dameron does more than describe the burdens of carrying “the lie”; he shows us how to live honestly and what it means to be human. This book is a beautiful and necessary read. —Alysia Abbott, author of Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father
Honest, wise, lyrical, funny—if memoirs (or love stories) come better than this one, I haven’t read them. —Andrew Tobias, New York Times bestselling author of The Best Little Boy in the World
When his identity is stolen online, William Dameron is confronted with the most obvious metaphor—after all, he himself had been putting forth a false identity. This is a book about that crucible moment, that lifelong lie—a memoir of a life held back and held in, of his steroid abuse and self-loathing, a memoir about faces stolen and revealed and about how a gay man who is a husband and father comes to terms with a later life awakening. In achingly beautiful and searingly honest prose, Dameron comes face-to-face with the fact that he dearly loves aspects of this falsified life. In the wake of this experience, Dameron drills down deep into a life he thought was authentic and true to find layers of self-deceits and cover-ups, in order to let both pain and beauty, eroticism and happiness come rushing in. —Elizabeth Cohen, author of The Family on Beartown Road: A Memoir of Love and Courage
You certainly should be excited about The Lie. This wise and generous memoir answers questions in living an examined life. Dameron has written his own confession as Saint Augustine did and has managed to make the telling of one man’s moral struggle include everybody. The writing is clear and true and evocative with a momentum that doesn’t frustrate or disappoint. The people are fully realized. It is a book that will help readers feel less lonely as they stumble toward their light. —Gail Godwin, three-time National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author of A Mother and Two Daughters
What does it mean to live in the closet? We use the term almost unthinkingly, forgetting what a dark and sealed-off place it really is. In The Lie, William Dameron digs deep to explore a life shrouded in shame and secrets. In vivid, clear prose, he bravely and candidly shares his story. I found myself rooting for him to save himself, while also understanding the impact this salvation would have on his wife and daughters. This memoir overflows with insights into the nature of marriage, family, and desire. In the end, it’s a story of how to live responsibly, love truly, and find a place in your heart for forgiveness. —K. M. Soehnlein, Lambda Literary Award–winning author of The World of Normal Boys
[A] deeply personal memoir…unflinchingly honest. —The Advocate
Immersive, passionate, honest, and laugh-out-loud funny. —Writer’s Bone
“Compelling…Darkly animated…Tamps down the tall grass of untold experience. —New York Times
“Compelling…Darkly animated…Tamps down the tall grass of untold experience.” —New York Times
A book that is a joyful testament to the transformative power of love and acceptance…In a climate in which certain rights and protections, recently presumed inalienable, now seem vulnerable once more, memoirs such as Dameron’s feel all the more crucial to the cultural conversation. —The Times (UK)
Candid and compassionate, the book celebrates truth and honors the redemptive power of forgiveness and love…Uplifting. —Kirkus Reviews
[An] exploration of what it means to deceive another person and why we do it—whether catfishing online or pretending to be someone you’re not in real life…insightful and empathetic. —Salon
Dameron inverts the typical catfishing tale of woe…[his] prose truly shines, with the awe of a child realizing himself, and the impossibility of that self…this isn’t your typical coming out story. It’s coming out much later in life, with children, with families to blend and houses to divide…The family shame runs so deep here that it is a river that forks into several families across generations, from grandfather to granddaughter and everyone in between…It’s a poem of a book that refuses, thankfully, to resolve. —Lambda Literary
“A book that is a joyful testament to the transformative power of love and acceptance…In a climate in which certain rights and protections, recently presumed inalienable, now seem vulnerable once more, memoirs such as Dameron’s feel all the more crucial to the cultural conversation.” —The Times (London)
William Dameron is an award-winning blogger, memoirist, and essayist. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Salon, the Huffington Post,
Saranac Review, Hippocampus Magazine, and in the book Fashionably Late: Gay, Bi & Trans Men Who Came Out Later in Life. He is an IT director for a global economic
consulting firm, where he educates users on the perils of social engineering in cybersecurity.
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