Review – The Authenticity Project

Because he feels as though people aren’t honest about their lives, Julian starts „The Authenticity Project“: in a small green notebook, he writes down the truth about his life. And he passes the book on to other people by leaving it in public, encouraging them to share the truth about their lives. He does not expect his little project to influence his own life and those of the six people who come in contact with it. Julian’s project leads to new friendships, love and his London neighbourhood growing together.

Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin for this review copy!

What drew me to this book first was the cover. It’s really beautiful and, if it weren’t for this review copy, it would have certainly been a „cover-purchase“. But I did also like the blurb and the idea behind the „project“. I think every one of us pretends to be better than we actually are on a regular basis and all of us know the feeling of everybody else having the near-perfect life while you’re struggling to stay on top.

What I liked most were the protagonists and the way they interacted. I could sympathize with them and really feel whether they liked one another or not.
Each chapter is written from the point of view of either of the six protagonists. I really enjoyed the chapters about Monica. She owns a cute and cozy little café and is trying to make life a little better for the people around her. She’s also the one I understood best: the way she felt and worried about certain things and how she likes to look after other people.

One person I very mixed feelings about, on the other hand, was Alice. She’s very self-centered and judges other people easily. I got annoyed with her soon after she’s introduced in the book. She’s always looking at her phone, more worried about what her followers think and see than about her family. But I also felt sorry for her. Alice was very naive about what it’s like to be a mother and she is overwhelmed by caring for a baby on her own.

When it comes to the plot, I liked that a lot of it was unpredictable. I feel like in many books you do know quite early on what is going to happen and how it might end. But The Authenticity Project puts forward a few surprises – some of them really jaw-dropping.

This book is a cosy little read, encouraging us to be more honest with the people surrounding us. It shows how friendships and love can come from opening up. Also, it shows being honest takes a lot of pressure off one’s shoulders to uphold the appearance of having the perfect life.

Score: 4/5 stars

About Clare Pooley:
Pooley was born in the 60s and lives in London. She had been drinking too much wine for decades and in 2015 decided to quit drinking. To help her get sober she started writing a blog about her struggle. Her first book, The Sober Diaries, came about due to her blog.
The Authenticity Project is her first work of fiction.
Source: Pooley’s website


Hardback: ISBN 978-1-7876-3179-3 | £12,99
E-Book: ISBN 978-1-4735-6849-5 | £12,98
368 pages | published 2020

Publishers page for the book

Clare Pooley’s website

Image Sources
Author: Clare Pooley’s website
Cover: Penguin

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