SIX STRANGERS WITH ONE THING IN COMMON: THEIR LIVES AREN’T ALWYAS 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 cafe, Julian never expects Monica, the owner, to track him down after finding it. Or that she’ll be inspried to write down her own story.
Little do they realise that such small acts of honesty hold the power to impact all those who discover the notebook and change their lives completely.
I was invited to particpate in a readalong of The Authenticity Project by Rob at Adventures with Words. Thank you for inviting me and providing me with a copy of the book and a delicious bar of chocolate.
I had seen the book around on social media but hadn’t really got a sense of how much of a feel good read it was, that said when I shared that I was reading it, so many people commented saying how much they had loved it.
The Authenticy Project brings together a motley crew of individuals centred around a friendly cafe in Fulham. 79 year old widower, Julian gets things started by writing down his true feelings in a green exercise book, expressing his loneliness, which he then bravely leaves on a table in the aforementioned cafe. Monica, the cafe owner, picks up the mantle, seeking out Julian and adding to the notebook which she then leaves in the bar opposite the cafe. And through this the group comes together with hugely positive effects which make for a wonderful and uplifting story.
A book about friendship and connecting with people, the power of face to face contact, which can sometimes feel lost in this modern age of social media and loneliness which we know is a significant problem. Julian was a character I adored, initially I thought he was so brave to open up in the form of the notebook, left to be found, later learning more about him, his colourful life and all round flamboyance was nothing short of fabulous.
Without spoilers the story didn’t quite go in the direction I assumed it would, but I really enjoyed it and actually liked the fact that things weren’t quite what they seemed. Cleverly told from multiple perspectives as new characters were introduced when they found the notebook, the chapters were short and the book was highly readable and hard to put down.
The book was a perfect winter lockdown read, a true feel good story of people coming together to heal and grow. Within its pages there is a serious message though, thinking about authenticity and the importance of being open, honest and brave in our relationships, accepting help and knowing our weaknesses, but also about taking the time to know those close to us – physically close that is, our neighbours, local business owners and those we see whilst going about our day to day lives.
I would definitely recommend this book and actually it has made me reflect on the books I read whilst we are currently in the midst of a pandemic and life feels small. This book made me feel happy and I realised how important that is when overwhelmingly life currently feels hard and gloomy. Reminding me of the power of reading to escape and improve our mood.
About the Author
Clare Pooley graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge and spent twenty years in teh heady world of advertising, where the line between authenticity and fiction is completely blurred, before becoming a full time mum. She is the author of the hugely popular blog, Mummy was a Secret Drinker, and her memoir, The Sober Diaries, was published in 2017 to critical acclaim. He blog has over two million hits and her TEDx talk, Making Sober Less Shameful, has had over 190,000 views.
Clare’s debut novel, The Authenticity Project, is inspired by her decision to expose the ratehr grubby truth about her seemingly perfect life in her memoir. She writes from her kitchen table in Fulham, London where she lives with her long suffering husband, thress childen and two dogs.