The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
I was quite late to this particular party reading this, having seen it on Instagram absolutely everywhere. This had been touted as the summer feel-good book of the year about two summer ago. But seeing one of my friends talking about it and enjoying it, I decided to give it a go. And boy was I pleased I did. This was a very sweet, and very touching book with an important message to relay.
With each book I review on the blog, I always try to add a little bit about the author which you access on the Authors page. This will include a list of the books written by the author. As I was researching the author bio for this book, Clare Pooley said that each of the characters represents a small part of herself. Given that she has talked openly and honestly in her previous books and blog about her battles with addiction, I believe the author can wear her Authenticity badge with pride.
The Plot (Taken from Goodreads)
The story of a solitary green notebook that brings together six strangers and leads to unexpected friendship, and even love
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.
I can clearly see what all the fuss is about. This is a delightful book, at times quite bittersweet. The characters are immensely likeable. Monica, the owner of the cafe is great, very kind and a bit of a control freak. Hazard for all of his unlikeable traits was actually one of my favourites. I loved the laid back ways of sweet, understanding Riley. Alice, was a fab example of how social media blurs reality. She is a social media influencer, who has just had a baby, is clearly struggling with her new baby, her marriage and her identity. Yet all the time she remains the face of perfect motherhood with carefully curated posts. A lesson for us all here!
By far my favourite was flamboyant Julian. An artist who studied under Lucien Freud and was an l'enfant terrible in the swinging 1960s. He starts the Authenticity Project, by admitting that despite this incredible life, he feels lonely and invisible now. It is he who leaves the notebook in Monica's cafe. His character has the biggest arc and it is not necessarily clear as to what is real in his life and what is not. But you cannot help but like him.
As the book is passed from hand to hand, more characters enter the story, slowly, steadily and each bring something wonderfully unique to tell. (Authenticity Part 2 anyone?).
This is a sweet read that I really enjoyed. I loved the important message that is relayed and this is played out by delightful characters. I'm so pleased I read this.