I absolutely adored this book! Once in a while a book comes along that is completely refreshing and that leaves you smiling! This is such a book. Touted to be ‘the feel-good book of the year’, I can honestly say that this lived up to all expectations.
But what is ‘The Authenticity Project’? The book itself is Clare Pooley’s first novel and she was inspired to write it by her own experience of telling the truth about her life. When she realised that she was drinking far too much, she quit, and started a blog called Mummy was a Secret Drinker, which went on to become a published memoir – The Sober Diaries.
The story begins with Julian Jessop leaving a green notebook in Monica’s Café. In it, he’s written his true feelings about his life and how he’s landed up being the sad, solitary soul that he is today: a 79-year-old, eccentric, washed-up, forgotten, lonely artist. He ends his missive by saying “Everyone lies about their lives. What would happen if you shared the truth?” And he writes ‘The Authenticity Project’ on the cover, deliberately leaving it on a table for Monica, the café’s owner to find, which she does, thus triggering a chain of life-changing events for a number of people … our characters.
Each person in turn finds the book and writes their truth within its pages, strategically leaving it for the next person to continue with. But what happens when the course of what could be the book’s natural life is changed? Because humans, by their very nature, do tend to meddle in the business of others. And whether their intentions are good or not, often things tend to go awry. Is it the book itself that causes events to spiral off-centre, or is it the actions of the individuals involved? Can people truly change, or do they just become more of who they truly are as time progresses?
This book is just marvelous and ticks every single box for an uplifting, motivational and inspiring 5-star read. The characters are real, down-to-earth and so very genuine. Yes, you might have to suspend reality just slightly to follow the path of this travelling green exercise book, but you will most definitely not find it difficult to relate to the characters who find themselves captured by what they read within its pages, and who so willingly add themselves to the series of truthful messages that have come before theirs. By doing so, they become part of an unlikely, but warm and welcoming troupe of friends, each one doing their best to improve their flaws while attempting to live their best life and contributing whatever they can towards helping others do the same.
Thank you so much to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on this Blog Tour, and thank you to Penguin Random House SA for my copy of the book, gorgeously gift wrapped, together with pencil … no doubt to start my own Authenticity Project.
Take a look at what other bloggers are saying about The Authenticity Project …
Clare Pooley graduated from Cambridge and spent twenty years in the heady world of advertising before becoming a full-time mum. She is the author of the hugely popular blog, Mummy was a Secret Drinker, under the pseudonym ‘Sober Mummy’ and her memoir, The Sober Diaries was published by Hodder in 2017 to critical acclaim.
Her blog has had over two million hits and she recently gave a TEDx talk titled Making Sober Less Shameful. Clare’s debut novel The Authenticity Project is inspired by the time Clare spent in advertising, a world where the line between authenticity and fiction is constantly blurred, and by her own experience of exposing truth about her seemingly perfect life in her memoir.
Speaking about the book, Clare commented: “Four years ago, my world, as portrayed on social media, seemed pretty perfect; in reality, it was falling apart. When I finally plucked up the courage to tell the truth, it transformed my life, and helped many other people. That got me thinking: everybody lies about their lives. What would happen if we told the
truth instead? Perhaps nothing, but maybe something magical. That thought led to The
Authenticity Project. I hope that the book gets everyone asking themselves ‘what truth would I tell?’”
Clare writes from her kitchen table in Fulham, London where she lives with her longsuffering husband, three children, dog and an African pygmy hedgehog