With everything happening at the moment, I like many people have been really struggling to read. Although I’ve been desperate to escape real life more than ever, I’ve really grappled with my anxiety and concentration. However last week I was thankfully sent an advance copy of Clare Pooley’s debut novel The Authenticity Project, giving me exactly what I craved – escapism and that lovely warm, fuzzy feeling (something I definitely haven’t had in recent weeks). Believe me, this book proved to be just the ideal tonic that I needed. And you can have it too as it’s published today – Thursday 2nd April!
This is a captivating read all about connection, community and hope. And lets face it, we all need this more than ever at the moment. I would have absolutely loved this book at the best of times, but with everything going on recently, this authentically warm story struck a special cord with me.
Based on and around the Fulham Road in London, the novel opens with café owner Monica finding an exercise book titled The Authenticity Project. Trying to find clues to its owner so she can return it, Monica opens the book to read the following:
Everyone lies about their lives. What would happen if you shared the truth instead? The one thing that defines you, that makes everything else about you fall into place? Not on the internet, but with those real people around you.
Perhaps nothing. Or maybe telling that story would change your life or someone you’ve not met. That’s what I want to find out.
These are the words of flamboyant, ageing artist Julian Jessop who continues with his own very personal and painful story. This is the onset of The Authenticity Project which Julian discarded on purpose in the hope that the finder would also be compelled to reveal their own truth in these pages, and pass it on for someone new to discover – a bit like a chain mail based on authenticity.
Monica, moved by Julian bravely revealing his vulnerabilities is also inspired to write her own secret truth. And so as the exercise book is passed from stranger to stranger, friendships are made and a small community connects.
With the origins of this clever plot growing from authentic roots, and exploring themes such as drug addiction, loneliness, obsessive compulsive disorder and the social stigma of being single and childless, this is a clever, thought provoking novel that is written in such a warm, engaging manner.
I simply couldn’t put it down; especially as it really boosted me when I desperately needed a boost. It made me smile all the way through, made me laugh and most importantly, it gave me hope.
Thank you Clare Pooley for that! 🙂
Believe me, The Authenticity Project is such an uplifting but real read. With a mix of very human, flawed but likeable characters, this is a book you can’t afford to miss. Especially with everything going on at the moment.
Yes, I know book shops aren’t currently open, but I’ve got it on very good authority (Clare Pooley’s Instagram) that you can grab your very own physical copy of this fab book from Amazon, Waterstones.com, Tesco and Asda. And for all you Kindle readers out there, you can purchase it in less than a minute. Wey hey! 🙂
Believe me, this book makes the ideal lockdown read.
Thank you also to NetGalley UK and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for my advance copy.