Lifestyle Book Reviews
Book Review: Phony!
By Sandy Amazeen Oct 10, 2008, 2:13 GMT
In 1998, Andrea Stanfield told a lie that became the foundation of her professional life. In an interview with the accounting department of a Florida engineering firm, she claimed, verbally and on paper, that she held a bachelors degree in business from a large midwestern university. In fact she had only a high school diploma. Through sheer moxie and impressive interviewing skills, she got the job, and eventually this lie ...more
Andrea Stanfield’s purgative narrative demonstrates how easy it was to create a false background that enabled her to land a better paying job and how difficult it turned out to be to continue living the lie. She begins with the discovery that she could trace cartoons as a child and pass them off as her own work yet, as most children, was more amazed by the newfound ability then worried about any wrongdoing.
Gifted with the ability to “read” people, Andrea spent much of her life mimicking what those around her expected her to be. This ability allowed Andrea to pull off the lie that she had a college degree. Through trial and error, she learned how to pass herself off as a professional, skate through job interviews and background checks and succeed as a business manager.
Living the lie came with a price tag, Andrea was dumped from a couple of close relationships when the truth was revealed. She found herself privy to the upper ranks of business that made a point of ridiculing less educated employees, likening them to monkeys chained to desks. Given the prevailing attitudes, it is surprising Andrea chose to tell the world of her decade long deception. Eventually conscience and concerns about what Andrea’s daughter would think of having a fraud for a mother drove the need to pen this “tell-all” autobiography that illustrates how people may not be what they appear.
Given all Andrea stood to lose by revealing a fake diploma, it seems a bit strange she chose to write an entire book about it. To paraphrase Ann Landers’ response to a spouse who felt the overwhelming urge to come clean about an old affair, “Your clear conscience is not worth the amount of damage and heartache your confession will cause.” Fortunately, in this case it worked out to the author’s advantage as she began a new life, one that finally allowed her to be herself. It comes off sounding very much like a bad case of midlife crisis.