Six strangers with one universal 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.
If ever a book came along at the right time then it is this one! I’ll say right off the bat Claire Pooley’s debut novel The Authenticity Project is a warm and soothing balm for the soul – just what I needed to help me get my reading mojo back amidst all the stresses and strains of lockdown, home-working, and social distancing!
The premise of The Authenticity Project is a simple one – what would happen if you told the truth about your life? Your hopes, your dreams, and your regrets?
When Julian Jessop leaves the truth of his lonely life in a notebook on a table in a local cafe, he isn’t sure if anything will come of it. But for Julian, Monica, Hazard, Riley, Alice and their assorted friends and family, Julian’s ‘Authenticity Project’ might just lead to some surprising results. New friendships, new jobs, new lifestyles – and some home truths both pleasant and difficult – all come out of each person’s contact with the unassuming notebook. But will each of them get what they are really seeking?
I had an absolute blast reading The Authenticity Project. The characters, even those who initially come across as somewhat unpleasant (I’m looking at you Hazard…), are a huge amount of fun to spend time with and, by the end of the book, it really does feel like you’ve got to know them all. I genuinely wanted things to turn out for the best for them! They’re an eclectic bunch as well – from the flamboyant but isolated artist Julian to new mum and Instagram influencer Alice, each of the characters bought a fresh perspective to the story and Pooley has done a fantastic job of making each voice feel distinct.
The book is definitely a slice of ‘up-lit’ – expect to get all of the warm fuzzies from reading it – but that doesn’t stop it from tackling some difficult subjects as well. From grief, loneliness and the struggles of old age, through to childlessness, addiction, the pressure of motherhood and the gap between expectations and reality, there’s a lot of ground covered in The Authenticity Project. But these darker subjects are treated with warmth, sensitivity, understanding, and a dash of humour to create a novel that focuses on the things that connect us rather than those that drive us apart.
All in all, The Authenticity Project is a warm and uplifting read that is perfect for fans of Libby Page’s The Lido and A J Pearce’s Dear Mrs Bird. With bags of heart and plenty of humour, it’s a novel packed brimming with humanity – perfect for those moments when we all want to feel a little more connected.
The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley is published by Transworld and is available now from all good booksellers (don’t forget that a lot of independent bookshops are still delivering online during the current lockdown – my favourites include the lovely Booka Bookshop and The Big Green Bookshop) and online retailers including Waterstones, Book Depository, and Amazon.
My thanks go to the publisher for providing an e-copy of the book in return for an honest and unbiased review, and to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in this blog tour. The tour continues until 16 April so do check out the other stops for more reviews and content!