REVIEW: ‘THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT’ BY CLARE POOLEY

When Monica picked up the green exercise book from the corner of her cafe, she had no idea how many new people, experiences, emotions and truths that little book is going to bring into her life.

Published on 2 February 2020 by Viking, Clare Pooley’s ‘The Authenticity Project’ has unhooked the everyday secrets of life wrapped in lies, expectations, responsibilities and perfect smiles.

79 year old Julian, the once glamorous artist has now lost his fame and purpose and is living an invisible life. He thus embarks upon the Authenticity project : “what would happen if you shared the truth instead?… maybe telling that story would change your life, or the life of someone you’ve not yet met.”

Writing his story down in perfect calligraphy, Julian leaves the authenticity project in a cosy corner at the neighbourhood cafe. And thus the little green book starts it’s journey from the corners of London to beaches in China, from museums in Paris and back to London; changing hands from Monica to Hazard to Riley to Alice to Lizzie and coming a full circle, back to Julian.

And in the process, it does change lives – not only of the temporary owners, but also of those around them- not always for the better, not always for the worse; The Authenticity Project infact works it’s way into realizations.

Starting slow, the novel picks up the pace in the 2nd quarter. This can be a nice light hearted read to be read in between heavy reads.

‘The Authenticity Project’ in a way is a story of courage, of meeting our inner struggles head on. And at the end leaves us with a question of whether our truths are really true.

Though the plot of the book is memorable, the characters can merge into one. Despite having vast differences in age, gender, ethnicities and lifestyles, all the characters speak in the same manner. The efforts to distinguish the characters are so visible, that it feels too dressed up and far from reality at times.

But at the same time, isn’t that the magic of fiction- to float above the surface of reality! Infact, the story would make a pretty entertaining movie tweaking in a bit more shrap humour and a good direction and cast!

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