The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley


the authenticity project



Six strangers with one universal thing in common: their lives aren’t always what they make them out to be.

What would happen if they told the truth instead?

Julian Jessop is tired of hiding the deep loneliness he feels. So he begins The Authenticity Project – a small green notebook containing the truth about his life.

Leaving the notebook on a table in his friendly neighbourhood café, Julian never expects Monica, the owner, to track him down after finding it. Or that she’ll be inspired to write down her own story.

Little do they realize that such small acts of honesty hold the power to impact all those who discover the notebook and change their lives completely.




I really enjoyed reading this book and found it a real tonic at this strange time. The characters and locations jump off the page and I found myself immersed in the book straight from the very beginning.
We meet a variety of characters, and I mean variety!, through a note book titled The Authenticity Project. Started by Julian a 79ish year old living a lonely life since the departure of his wife Mary. He writes a little about himself then leaves the book in a local cafe for someone else to find. That cafe belongs to Monica, late 30’s, still living on her own and extremely uptight!
Using separate narratives from each character we meet, we learn about them as an individual person and as the book progresses, as a group and for me this is where the story shone the best. They were fantastic together, with all their different personalities clashing with one another, but at the same time coming together and helping each individual hopefully to lead a better life. Even the smaller characters were so well thought out, like that of Mrs Wu! I found them so vivid that I couldn’t wait to get back to the book to read more. It was like I was beginning to get to know them myself and would have loved to if i’m honest.
Talking of honesty I did need to suspend a little bit of realism when reading this. Yes they were all realistic people, and it covers realistic and hard subject matters, but because of their financial security they all had the comfort of not having to worry so much about that on top of everything else.. But saying that it then wouldn’t have been the nice escapist read that it was.
It had a good ending without being too sweet, but one that befitted the characters well.
I found it funny, light, joyful and a read that left behind such a warm feeling, I was really glad I’d read it.

Many thanks to the publishers and to NetGalley for my advanced digital copy of the book.




Clare Pooley graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge and spent twenty years in the heady world of advertising before becoming a full-time mum.

Clare lives in Fulham, London with her long-suffering husband, three children, dog and a cupboard filled with alcohol-free beer.

Clare is the author of the hugely popular blog, Mummy was a Secret Drinker, under the pseudonym Sober Mummy.

You can also find Clare on


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