Pondo’s Review: The Authenticity Project

By Clare Pooley

Julian Jessop, an eccentric, lonely artist and septuagenarian believes that most people aren’t really honest with each other. But what if they were? And so he writes–in a plain, green journal–the truth about his own life and leaves it in his local café. It’s run by the incredibly tidy and efficient Monica, who furtively adds her own entry and leaves the book in the wine bar across the street. Before long, the others who find the green notebook add the truths about their own deepest selves–and soon find each other In Real Life at Monica’s Café.

The Authenticity Project‘s cast of characters–including Hazard, the charming addict who makes a vow to get sober; Alice, the fabulous mommy Instagrammer whose real life is a lot less perfect than it looks online; and their other new friends–is by turns quirky and funny, heartbreakingly sad and painfully true-to-life. It’s a story about being brave and putting your real self forward–and finding out that it’s not as scary as it seems. In fact, it looks a lot like happiness.

I had completely forgotten I’d requested this title on Netgalley until I received an email reminder from the publisher. I’m terrible for that sometimes and am doing my best to be better! The email prompted me to check out my account, send the file to my kindle and get reading. Not remembering the premise of the book or even what genre, as I started reading I was excited for what past me had picked out.

The idea of a travelling notebook was intriguing. Though much different than other travelling item stories, it kept with the theme of bringing people together. I appreciated that the notebook wasn’t magical – even though enchanted items can be exciting. It was a delight to read how a simple ordinary notebook could affect the lives of so many people.

The story started out at a good pace and kept it up the whole way through. Different chapters focused on different characters but I didn’t feel that the story got lost at any point in time. I loved seeing the events multiple times in the perspective of different characters.

Clare Pooley is a talent I’m so glad to have found. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for her next release.