Thursday, January 28, 2021

Book Review: "The Authenticity Project" by Clare Pooley

Looking for a feel-good read? The Clare Pooley's The Authenticity Project may be for you.

Julian Jessop was once an artist of some acclaim. But nearing his 80th birthday and still mourning the loss of his wife, he barely talks to or sees anyone for days at a time.

The more he thinks about it, the more he realizes how little people really know one another anymore. So one day he begins The Authenticity Project—he writes truths about himself in a green notebook and leaves it in his local cafe.

Monica, the cafe’s owner, is a little dubious about unburdening herself in a notebook that will be read by strangers, but she has feelings she can’t express to anyone else. In addition to telling her secrets and leaving the notebook for someone else to find, she sets out to try and make a difference in Julian’s life.

Little by little the notebook finds its way into the hands of those who need to say things they can’t tell others. At the same time, it forms a community of sorts, kindred spirits in need of some kind of support or comfort.

Ironically though, it’s not long before some realize that in order to be truly authentic you need to be honest—with yourself and others. And for some, that will take more than writing in a notebook. It will take confronting issues, people, problems that they’ve avoided for some time.

I thought The Authenticity Project was a really sweet and wonderful book, so perfect for being in the midst of this crazy world. I love the idea of paying it forward and really found many of the characters and their relationships with one another so enjoyable. (I totally see Bill Nighy playing Julian in the movie version of this book, even if Bill isn't quite so old.)

Is the book a little melodramatic? Perhaps? A little sappy? Doesn’t matter. This was a book that warmed my heart and might have even brought a tear to my eye.

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