“The Authenticity Project” by Clare Pooley – Book Review

What Happens When You Tell Your Truth?

Monica – 37 years old, a former corporate lawyer, she now owns and runs “Monica’s Cafe” in Fulham, London.  Monica is in her mid-thirties and her biological clock is ticking louder and louder every day. She dislikes herself for her truth, the fact that she wants to be a mother, married, and in charge of her future.

Julian – an elderly widower, he was once a socially busy artist. Now he is lonely, and lives in squalor. Julian finds the green notebook on a tomb in the cemetery he visits regularly.

Hazard – 38 years old, works in finance. It has been a long, long, time since Hazard has not been under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. His life is spinning out of control… He finds the green notebook in a wine bar.

Riley – 30 years old, a gardener and surfer from Perth, Australia. Blond, tanned, and very fit, Riley finds the notebook in his backpack while flying to London.

Alice – posts on Instagram how fabulous motherhood and her life is.  She is a social media ‘influencer‘. Her truth is that she is finding life, and being a mother to her four-month old daughter, overwhelming. She fears her marriage is in trouble and that her own identity seems to be slipping away. Alice finds the green notebook on the baby swing at the park.

Lizzie – 65 years old, a grandmother, retired maternity nurse, and now works part-time at a day-care center for mothers with addictions. Lizzie finds the green notebook on the floor of the day-care. Because of her curious nature, Lizzie will have a great impact on some of the people who have written in the book.

This little green notebook will – without even trying – change the lives of all of those who encounter it…

“Does anyone want to know the truth? Really? The truth often isn’t pretty. It’s not aspirational.”

This story affirms how we all think that the grass is greener – that everyone else’s lives are better than our own – and how very misleading appearances can be. Also, how, by telling the bald truth, several disparate and flawed characters come together in friendship. A ‘feel-good’ read that confirms that happiness is possible but it sometimes requires more effort than a lot of people are willing to expend. Or sometimes perhaps, it is just ‘kismet’.

This might seem like a light story, but it has several important messages. Didactic fiction wrapped up in empathy and humour, this is a story about hopes, dreams, addictions, parenthood, social media, friendship, and community.

I loved these characters and this story. With astounding clarity and transparency, Clare Pooley has written her own truth via a fictional story that will be sure to touch the hearts of its readers. Highly recommended!

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Penguin Random House Canada via NetGalley.

ISBN: 9780735238435               368 pages

A former advertising executive with a successful husband, three healthy children, and a beautiful West London home, Clare Pooley was living a perfect life, or so it seemed. In 2015, she created an anonymous blog titled Mummy Was a Secret Drinker. She revealed herself to be the author in 2017, once she had landed a book deal. Her memoir, The Sober Diaries, published that year by Hodder in the U.K., examined her drinking problem and how she had started with a glass of wine in the evening and later found herself downing seven to 10 bottles a week.

The Authenticity Project was a more laborious effort. Born out of a writing workshop, the novel follows six disparate characters (most of them Londoners) brought together by a diary that falls into each of their hands by happenstance. This, her debut novel, was acquired in England for six figures by Transworld after a six-way auction, the novel was nabbed in an equally competitive situation in the U.S. Pamela Dorman bought it in a two-book deal, for her eponymous imprint at Viking, for a sum rumored to be in the high six figures.

Clare Pooley spent twenty years in the heady world of advertising before becoming a full-time mother. Pooley writes from her kitchen table in Fulham, London where she lives with her husband, three children, dog and an African pygmy hedgehog. She is currently at work on her second novel.

Follow Clare Pooley on Twitter.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, debut novels, Favorite books, Literary fiction, NetGalley, Women's fiction and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “The Authenticity Project” by Clare Pooley – Book Review

  1. dandelionsinspired says:

    I have heard about this book and love the premise of it. This is definitely one I want to check out. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

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