I have a cracking book recommendation for you today. Read my book review of The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley. This has been sat on my ‘To Be Read’ bookshelf since it was published back in February (2021). Thankfully my blog tour commitments were all wrapped up before our Scotland Road Trip so I was able to take this gorgeous book with me on the road.
Was it worth the wait? Absolutely, I loved it. But before I get into my book review, here’s a quick summary of what the book is about.
Book Cover Notes
Six strangers with one thing in common: their lives aren’t always what they make them out to be.
What would happen if they told the truth instead?
Julian Jessop is tired of hiding the deep loneliness he feels. So he begins The Authenticity Project – a small green notebook containing the truth about his life.
Leaving the notebook on a table in his friendly neighbourhood café, Julian never expects Monica, the owner, to track him down after finding it. Or that she’ll be inspired to write down her own story.
Little do they realize that such small acts of honesty hold the power to impact all those who discover the notebook and change their lives completely.
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What a great opening to this book, 79 year old Julian is lonely. Age has made him feel invisible. Sadly, this is something many people deal with on a daily basis. The Authenticity Project tackles this sensitive and growing issue with such honesty, warmth, kindness and at times humour.
In a plain green notebook, Julian writes:
“How well do you know the people who live near you? How well do they know you? Do you even know the names of your neighbours? Would you realise if they were in trouble, or hadn’t left their house for days? Everyone lies about their lives. What would happen if you shared the truth instead? The one thing that defines you, that makes everything else about you fall into place. Not on the internet, but with those real people around you? Perhaps nothing. Or maybe telling that story would change your life, or the life of someone you’ve not yet met. Thats what I want to find out.”
I loved Monica’s character, she owns the tea shop in which Julian leaves his notebook. Like Julian, her life’s not perfect but none of her customers would ever know. Every day she puts on her brave face and a happy smile. She loves her tea shop but it’s not fulfilling all her dreams. There were so many moments reading Monica’s story that I nodded, laughed and cringed as I am the real life Monica. Her biological clock, her OCD for cleanliness, everything needing to be in it’s place, neat and tidy and perfect. It was as if the author had opened up my head and peeked inside. 🙂 Totally loved Monica.
Each chapter of the book is narrated by one of the main characters. As well as Julian and Monica, the green notebook travels into the hands of Hazard, Riley, Alice & Lizzie. All very strong and individual characters that have a story to tell, which they do in Julian’s little green book. What happens next is heart warming, powerful and uplifting. It makes you re-think your own world and the importance of feeling connected and supported by friends.
I don’t know about you but the past couple of years, due to the pandemic, I have found very difficult to stay connected in the real world. Crowds scare me, people getting too close in the supermarket make my heart race. The constant fear of picking up Covid and sharing it with friends and family even now is stopping me from being connected in the real world.
Reading this book made me laugh and it made me cry. Who doesn’t love a book like that? I certainly do. This book may not change my life but it has given me the realisation and encouragement to step outside and re-connect again with real people.
This debut fiction novel is very timely for 2020/2021 and beyond. It covers the sensitive issues on loneliness and feeling disconnected. A heart warming and uplifting read that reminds us to be kind, check in with each other more and be open to change.
Highly recommended. Clare Pooley is an author to watch, I can’t wait to see what she writes next. It’ll be at the top of my ‘To Be Read’ pile as soon as she does.
Where To Buy
Further book info
- Published Date: 18th February 2021
- Publisher: Blackswan
- Page Count: 416
About The Author
Clare Pooley graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge and spent twenty years in the heady world of advertising, before becoming a full-time writer.
Clare’s dark but hilarious memoir, The Sober Diaries, has helped thousands of people around the world to quit drinking.
The Authenticity Project, Clare’s debut novel, was a BBC Radio 2 bookclub pick, a New York Times bestseller, the winner of the RNA debut novel award and a Babelio award. It’s been translated into 29 languages.
The People on Platform 5 is Clare’s second novel, inspired by her fascination with inventing stories about her fellow passengers on her commute to work.
Clare lives in Fulham, London with her husband, three children and two border terriers.
Where To Find Clare Online
I hope you’ve enjoyed my book review of The Authenticity Project. Want to read more Fiction Book reviews?
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