Clare Pooley's debut fiction novel, The Authenticity Project. Trust me, you will too....
An older, lonely widower/artist who has spent the last fifteen years pretty much by himself in his home is determined to get back out into the world. He comes up with an idea.....he writes his truth in a green notebook and leaves it on a table in a local cafe.....and The Authenticity Project is begun.
"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? Maybe nothing. Or maybe telling that story would change your life, or the life of someone you've not met me. That's what I want to find out."
What a great premise eh? I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. Well, the notebook is picked up again and again - and the lives of six strangers intersect.....
I loved Pooley's characters - they're all wonderfully drawn, strengths, foibles and all. (And yes, I'd like to be sitting around the table with them at the back of the cafe.) I was immediately invested in their lives and kept quickly turning pages to see who would next pick up the book. The narrative moves from player to player and again and this only ensured I couldn't put the book down. Those intersections get more and more complicated, changes happen and I certainly didn't see some of them coming. Some I liked, some I didn't, but they were all 'just right' for the book.
Pooley's writing is so easy to read, flows so easily and is utterly addictive. If you're looking for a warm, feel-good, uplifting, unexpected, just be yourself tale, this is one you'll want to read. After I turned the last page, I wondered - what would happen if someone actually did this? Here's an excerpt of The Authenticity Project.
"If we all stopped making each other feel sad and inadequate by pretending to be perfect, and instead opened up about our struggles, we would all be much happier, and feel less alone." Clare Pooley.
This is easily one of my favourite reads for 2020 - and yes, I know we're only in February!