"A story about a solitary green notebook that brings together six strangers and leads to unexpected friendship, and even love--think Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine meets Love, Actually.
"Everybody lies about their lives. What would happen if you shared the truth?" This is the question that Julian Jessop, an eccentric, seventy-nine-year-old artist, poses within a pale green exercise book that he labels The Authenticity Project, before leaving it behind in Monica's Café. When Monica discovers Julian's abandoned notebook, not only does she add her own story to the book, she is determined to find a way to help Julian feel less lonely.
And so it goes with the others who find the green notebook that will soon contain their deepest selves. It will also knit the group together In Real Life at Monica's Cafe, where they'll discover the thrill and sometime-risk of being completely honest--and, for some, find unexpected love.
With a cast of characters who are by turns quirky and funny, heartbreakingly sad and painfully true-to-life, The Authenticity Project is a novel readers will take to their hearts and read with unabashed pleasure.
This was the absolutely perfect, feel good, uplifting story that I needed. Clare Pooley poured her heart and wisdom into this exceptionally delightful story. I know I am gushing, but this is just one of those books you want to shout from the rooftops about, it really was that good. Julian is a lonely 79-year-old who realizes he has made some mistakes in his life. So he decides to confess his truth in a green composition notebook with the words “The Authenticity Project“ on the cover. Monica is the owner of a café. When she finds the notebook she decides to share her truth about her desire to be a wife and mother and how she’s afraid she will never find real love. She is also touched by Julian story and decides she’s going to bring a little joy and purpose into his life. Monica also leaves the notebook in a bar for someone else to find and continue what Julian has started. As the notebook is passed from one character to another and authentic thoughts are shared, these characters lives begin to intertwine.
Such a lovely story packed with so many quirky lovable characters. I loved how even if implausible this notebook brought this diverse cast of characters together. Each additional character added a little something more to the story. Although I have to say my favorites were definitely flamboyant Julian and Type A Monica. The audiobook was narrated by Anna Cordell Who did a wonderful job with all the accents and this large cast of characters. She gave each character a unique voice and I was never confused as to who’s perspective the story was being told from. This book is absolutely going on my favorites shelf, a definite possibility for my best of 2020.
An interesting premise, but the book was spoiled by endless repetition, poor writing and cheesy dialogue. There was also a lot of telling rather than showing and, more annoying, showing followed immediately by telling, as though Pooley didn't quite trust her readers to understand her novel's fairly simple plot. Add to that a contrived final few chapters, and what we have is a pretty disappointing mess.
This was a breath of fresh air. A unique premise and some characters that you couldn't help but root for. The only real criticism I have is I thought the second half wasn't quite as good as the first half of the book. In my opinion there were a core group of characters and there were a few that didn't seem completely necessary. However, the story bounces back and does have some interesting things happen in the end.
So The Authenticity Project, what is it? Well, Julian is an elderly man who has kept to himself for a very long time. He thinks people aren't honest with one another so he decides to write the truth about himself in a green notebook and he leaves it in a local cafe for someone to find. The owner of the cafe, Monica, comes across the notebook and decides to write about some of the things she is most vulnerable about in her life and then she leaves the notebook in a bar so another person can have their chance to spill their guts. And eventually some of the people who have written in the notebook get a chance to meet, and you'll just have to read the book to find out what happens next.
The plot might seem a bit far-fetched but it does work for the most part in the story. You just kinda have to go with the idea that some people aren't concerned about their privacy and make it fairly easy for the next reader of the notebook to figure out their identity. And sometimes in life it is good to take chances because it can lead you in a more positive direction. I think most of us at the core are decent human beings who enjoy helping others and I loved seeing that play out in this book with all of these strangers coming together and looking out for one another.
The story alternates between the different characters who write in the notebook. I liked the first 4 core characters but the other characters introduced afterwards didn't do much for me. Everything ties in together eventually but the story becomes a bit muddled in the second half. A sense of community is certainly part of the story but when you have too many side plots due to too many characters, it's usually best to scale back a bit.
Overall, I did enjoy this one and recommend it to anyone looking to read something that has heart and also restores your faith in humanity just a tad.
I won a free copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway but was under no obligation to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.
The Authenticity Project had an interesting premise, but I sadly didn't like the novel.
I read it together with two of my friends, Amanda and Monika, a even though not either of us ended up liking it, we still enjoyed our conversations a jokes, so for that reason, I am very glad we read it.
Characters in the story were all very hard to connect with. The only one who I truly understood was Alice, as I feel like we live very similar loves, only without alcohol or trips to Paris on my part (and followers, so basically, I only also find it hard to be a mother).
All characters had their flaws and were unlikable, a while I appreciate how they weren't black and white, I also found them annoying.
But what annoyed me the most was the ridiculousness of the situations, everything was so unbelievable to the point it was plain stupid. If this was satire, with some extra work, it would probably be a good one.
Good things about the book were that it was easy, quick to read, the author showed us well how what we see is often different from the true, and how we define ourselves with one or two things we put most focus on, when in reality we are more then that.
Now when I said my honest opinion about author's work, I hope her father (as she warned us in her acknowledgment) won't leave a nasty comment.
Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack in everything That’s how the light gets in. —LEONARD COHEN
Put down your phones, quit sitting in front of your computer screens, get out of your house, and enjoy the faces and company around you...The Authenticity Project has a very YOLO ('you only live once') vibe. It's a very sweet, cutesy, if somewhat implausible, story told from multiple perspectives.
Julian, the man who started it all, is, to me, the star of this novel. His thoughts, words, and actions had me chuckling throughout. Such a delightful, quirky character. And Keith, his muse, is even better. 🐶 All the characters were lovable, yet, somehow annoying...then again, that seems to be the case with people in real life too. Nobody is perfect and at it's core, I think that's the theme of TAP...being true to yourself always.
At times, parts of the story felt mildly clichéd...things like a woman sticking a fork in a guy's hand, a guy running down a purse-snatcher, and an addict leaving notes to himself, regarding the name of the girl he's sleeping with, so he'll remember the next morning. Though the story starts slowly, it definitely picks up, even offering an unexpected and solid twist ending.
Overall, this is well worth a read, particularly on a cozy, rainy day.
I chose this book as the June Book of the Month option for my club.
I disliked this ridiculous feel-good novel, stuffed with clichés and implausible caricatures of people, situations, and dialogue, and presumably sponsored by Apple*. But two friends recommended it as enjoyable, uplifting fun. I fancied something light, and the premise had promise. One of them lent me a copy, so I felt obliged to read the whole thing. I did. But I wish that I hadn’t. This is an honest review of my feelings about the book. I will say less, and be rather gentler when I return it.
The authenticity dilemma
The book’s title is that of Julian’s notebook. He writes that he’s old and lonely, and wants neighbours to know and understand each other. He pens a bit about himself, suggests others do the same, stressing the need for unvarnished honesty, and leaves it for someone to find. “Everyone lies about their lives. What would happen if you shared the truth instead?”
A daisy-chain of stories and lives. Probably sentimental, but potentially interesting. Four more main characters (plus a late-comer) find the book and write in it: sensible Monica, risk-taking Hazard, a stunning Aussie surfer living the life of Riley called… Riley, and a Mummy Instagram influencer with a secret drink problem called Alice. Lesser characters include Mrs Wu, who is an inconsistent (especially in her speech) and uncomfortable caricature of a Chinese matriarch and restaurateur, an old lesbian couple whose peripheral presence in the story makes little sense, and a young gay couple.
Despite the characters’ obvious and admitted flaws, they’re all too kind to be true. As their lives intersect more and more, and they all benefit from helping each other, rather than focusing on their own problems. Nothing they say or do feels authentic, let alone the six-month timescale. A former high-flying city lawyer whose proudest achievement is a five-star hygiene rating for her café and loves nothing better than reading a business plan? A surprise party to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the death of a loved-one is weird, isn’t it? And one person’s disapproval of a character who is accidentally outed is quickly is overcome by a scene that could be from Mickey Mouse!
Image: A cat using a mirror to paint a self-portrait - of a tiger. “Self portrait” by Sarang Bhagat (Source)
Social media proves that many people like to share their lives and inner thoughts, authentic or not. However, it’s either for family and friends, or, with the exception of celebs, shared relatively anonymously. No one would write what these people write and then leave it so near to home, when strangers could identify them.
The inauthenticity could be clever and meta. It came close with Alice, who realises her brand “was all about authenticity”, but knows her posts paint sunny lie after sunny lie. And a couple of other characters question the effect of the notebook. But overall, every paragraph felt utterly inauthentic to me.
Life imitating art?
I feel bad for criticising the believability because at the end, the author says she was a Mummy blogger with a drink problem, in the same part of west London. She’s sober now, and has written and given a TED talk about her experience to help others. Nevertheless, I don’t think the old advice to “write what you know” worked.
iPhones were the worst, with at least six gratuitous and unidiomatic mentions. My phone happens to be an iPhone, but like every Brit I know, I just refer to my “phone” or my “mobile”, regardless of brand (unless specifically making comparisons). Other product placement broke the flow, either because it didn’t ring true (Insta woman and After Eights) or because it was unnecessary (a list of six well-known relationship books, where one or two would make the point).
I understand the desire for escapism, but for me, it has to be either more believable than this, or be explicitly fantasy or magical realism. I guess this is chick-lit, so I looked at the only other such book I reviewed, nearly 14 years ago, Kinsella’s Can You Keep a Secret? My closing comment applies just as much to this: I expected a juice bar/coffee shop rather than Heston Blumenthal's molecular gastronomy, but I ended up with soggy fluorescent candyfloss.
A green notebook, entitled “The Authenticity Project” is left at Monica’s cafe for someone to find..
Inside, a few paragraphs, written by Julian Jessore, age 79, an artist…🎨
“Everyone lies about their lives. What would happen if you shared the truth instead? The one thing that defines you, makes everything else about you fall into place? Not, on the internet, but with those real people around you? Perhaps nothing. Or, maybe telling that story would change your life, or the life of someone you’ve not yet met. That’s what I want to find out.”
I AM LONELY. “
This entry does end up changing Julian’s life, and the lives of all who find the book, as they share their true selves on it’s pages.
It’s an uplifting, charming story perfect for readers who enjoy cozy books about small town neighborhoods and the residents who reside in them, and perhaps also for readers who enjoy “PostSecret”...
My favorite parts were reading the personal entries, penned in the notebook, and shared without worry about who might read their words when the book is next found.
Each of their words, trigger an action by the next person who reads them, eventually connecting all of the characters to one another.
This was a personal story, for author Claire Pooley, so she had a few of the characters in the book, (Alice, Hazard, and Julian-see the acknowledgements page) face the challenges that she faced, and come out ahead! 🎨
I thought I needed a light read after reading a few intense novels, but The Authenticity Project, while enjoyable, was a bit too light. The concept was clever. 75 year old Julian, a lonely aging artist, writes about his loneliness in a notebook titled The Authenticity Project which he then leaves in Monica’s cafe. Monica then writes about her desperation for a family, and then passes the notebook on to another stranger. Slowly, all these strangers become connected, and the reader realizes that authenticity is more complicated than it seems. It all had the feel of a Sophie Kinsella novel, with imperfect characters on a road to understanding their truer selves. I actually like the occasional dose of Sophie Kinsella, and I liked parts of The Authenticity Project, but overall it was just a bit too predictable and the characters were a bit to stereotypical for my tastes. Thanks to Netgalley and Edelweiss for giving me access to advance copies.
I don't have many books that I couldn't finish, but there have been a few. This one now rests among their number. Halfway through the book, I could no longer force myself to wade through page after page of sad people stuck in torturous, pointless lives. Perhaps this was uplifting for some, but not me. There are too many other books out there that move me to force myself to read something I don't enjoy.
My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. My apologies to the author.
What a quaint story, but beware: things are a not always as they seem! I liked the interesting plot twist with Julian. He got his comeuppance for his philandering and selfish ways, but also a second chance at life - redemption is probably a better word for this part of the story line.
The narrative meandered a bit, and I wondered whether the author was playing at misdirection, like a magician, but I could also foresee the potential ending of this story right in the first few chapters, so I suppose a bit of misdirection was necessary in order to keep things interesting. I loved how new characters kept being added to the mix, and how their contribution to The Authenticity Project enriched this story. Just a really great read! I received an ARC of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I'm speechless. This book is a beautiful reminder that you have only one life, and to live it plainly. That whatever happens, you need to choose yourself first. Don't live a lie, and don't lie to yourself either. If you're lonely, get out of your comfort zone, and go meet new people. If you're sad, find the reason why and try to change the situation to be happy. Try not to judge so quickly everyone: nothing is what is seems. You are not perfect: why does anyone have to be?
This book will create waves, I'm so sure of it. It wouldn't surprise me that it would be made into a movie, too.
It's amazing. Read it.
Many thanks to the Penguin Random House Canada for the complimentary e-copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Oh man. This book was supposed to be really amazing and life affirming. I can’t help but feel a bit tricked. Both characters and storyline were shallow and flimsy. Oh and the characters hahah Julian: a has-been artist with crap fashion sense, a habit of lying, and a heart of gold! Monica: a desperate and uptight cafe owner with a heart of gold! Riley: an absurdly named grown man *from exotic Australia* with childlike sensibilities and a heart of gold! Hazard: an even more absurdly named man who’s a junkie and a womanizer but guess what he has! A HEART OF GOLD THAT’S RIGHT! *other characters whose names I’ve already forgotten. An influencer, ffs? But she did have a heard of gold I remember that distinctly. I was surprised to read that the author has struggled with addiction as I remembered thinking how unrealistic those parts of the story seemed. But thank goodness it was all so easily resolved! 🤦🏻♀️
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.
Αν το βιβλίο αυτό ήταν ρόφημα, θα ήταν μία ζέστη σοκολάτα!
Αν ήταν γλυκό θα ήταν μία καραμέλα βουτύρου τυλιγμένη με ασημόχαρτο!
Ένα βιβλίο ανώδυνο και μπαμπακιένο, που φώτισε και ζέστανε την καρδιά μου σαν ανοιξιάτικη λιακάδα!
Η Μόνικα, ο Τζούλιαν, ο Χάζαρντ, ο Ράιλι, η Άλις θα μου λείψουν πραγματικά! Πόσο θα ήθελα να είναι αληθινοί! Να μπορώ να ταξιδέψω μέχρι του Φούλαμ του Λονδίνου και να τους συναντήσω όλους μαζί στο καφέ της Μόνικας!
The Authenticity Project is yet another book I’ve read of late which had a great premise but fell down when it came to the actual delivery.
The ‘project’ is actually just a notebook into which 79 year-old Julian, a flamboyant artist who was part of the ‘it’ crowd in his day, writes admissions of being a lonely old man since his wife, whom he underappreciated completely, died. After writing his ‘authentic’ story in the book, he leaves it lying around for someone to pick up and read. The idea is for them to then write their own story before leaving it for the next person, and so on. We follow the story of all those who find his book and the relationships they have with each other because of the book.
Pooley was obviously going for a Love, Actually/Four Weddings and a Funeral type interconnecting characters feel. However, the whole thing didn’t work as well as it should. I didn’t find the book particularly funny, nor did I believe in the romance. At the very least, for this type of multi-character book to work, you need to fall in love with the characters and their plights. In this, their plights/plots were bland and boring and I’m afraid I had trouble liking some of the characters, let alone loving them.
Julian is probably the one Pooley was counting on us finding the most charming. However, I found him to be a selfish git most of the time. His timeline also felt completely wrong. As in, a man his age would have been well into his 40s during the 80s and, therefore, his love for the clothes and music from that decade felt a little confusing and wrong.
Other characters include Monica, a germophobe neurotic mess; Hazard, an alcoholic with a stupid name; Alice, a yummy-mummy insta-star; and two gay couples who play such a minor part it’s obvious they’ve been thrown in so Pooley could check off her ‘must have for diversity’ list.
And don’t get me started on the Australian character who Pooley uses as a dumb blond ignoramus which, for obvious reasons, made me mad. (Note to everyone who reads this, the only people to call toilets a dunny would be over 60 and everyone in Aus knows who Nigella and Jamie Oliver are. *hmph*)
The book also suffers from the same problem as a lot of others on the market at the moment -- it’s about 100 pages too long. The plot and characters were far too weak and the writing too pedestrian to expect it to stretch out to almost 400 pages. I did read to the end of the book but maybe that was out of sheer stubbornness on my part.
I guess, considering the addiction storylines (all the characters are addicted to something, alcohol, social media, cleaning etc), Pooley had the best intentions when she wrote this book. Unfortunately, I’ve come to discover that good intentions (and, in this case, a good idea/premise) doesn’t necessarily mean a good read. I’d rate this maybe 2 ½, 3 at a pinch.
This one has a quirky set of characters that somehow come together for new friendship, love, and happiness in London. One of the main characters is Monica. She’s finally gone out on her own to open Monica’s Café, but she’s struggling to keep the doors open and the money flowing. One day a mysterious green notebook is left behind in her café and the journey begins!
The notebook contains a story – an authentic story – of one person who admits he’s very lonely – Julian, an artist who used to be quite famous. Julian challenges the person who has found the notebook to add their story. Of course, Monica can’t resist adding her story and she wants to help Julian be less lonely. The notebook journey continues, drawing more people into the circle. Along the way, there is social media, some hurt feelings and sadness, and ultimately contentment for most of the characters.
This one makes us think about how well do we really know people? Would knowing the truth help form stronger relationships? This book was a great departure from my usual thriller world and I enjoyed spending a bit of time with this odd cast of characters!
"Όλοι λένε ψέματα για τη ζωή τους. Τι θα γινόταν όμως αν μοιραζόσουν την αλήθεια; Εκείνο το πράγμα που σε καθορίζει, που κάνει όλα όσα σε χαρακτηρίζουν να βγάζουν νόημα;"
Ένα ζεστό και άκρως γλυκό βιβλίο.
Με αιχμαλώτισε από την αρχή, παρόλο που ήταν πιο αργό και ήρεμο. Ίσως ήταν η ιδέα για το πού θα πάει το σημειωματάριο μετά. Ποιανού την ιστορία θα γνωρίζαμε; Ποια κρυφά μυστικά θα ανακαλύπταμε;
Ίσως πάλι να έφταιγε το καφέ και η Μόνικα, που μου έδιναν cozy vibes από την σειρά «Φιλαράκια». Δεν ξέρω ακριβώς τι, αλλά συνέχιζα να διαβάζω και χωρίς να το καταλάβω… χάθηκα στην ιστορία. Χιλιάδες ερωτήματα γέμισαν το μυαλό μου, και τι πιο όμορφο από το να σε κάνει να σκέφτεσαι ένα βιβλίο;
"The truth often isn’t pretty. It’s not aspirational. It doesn’t fit neatly into a little square on Instagram."
Γέλασα, στεναχωρήθηκα, αγάπησα και ένιωσα κάτι ξεχωριστώ με αυτό το βιβλίο.
Αν ψάχνετε το απόλυτο comfort read που θα σας αγγίξει και θα ζεστάνει τις μέρες σας, τότε «Το Πράσινο Σημειωματάριο» είναι αυτό που θέλετε!
Η πρωτοεμφανιζόμενη Clare Pooley συλλαμβάνει μία ευφυής ιδέα και αποφασίζει να τη μοιραστεί με το αναγνωστικό κοινό. Φαντάζομαι πως με την ίδια συστολή που άφησε ο Τζούλιαν το σημειωματάριο, παρέδωσε το βιβλίο στον εκδότη της. Στην αρχή ξεφύλλιζα ράθυμα το μυθιστόρημα διερωτώμενη εάν το hype δεν ευσταθεί αλλά σταδιακά χτίζεται το ενδιαφέρον και αγαπάς όλους τους χαρακτήρες. Μηδενός εξαιρουμένου. Από την Μόνικα που παρουσιάζει ομοιότητες με την τηλεοπτική Μόνικα από τα ‘’Φιλαράκια’’ και τη μαμά ινφλουένσερ Άλις που πασχίζει για την επίπλαστη ευτυχία μέχρι τον πομπώδη Τζούλιαν και τον εθισμένο Χάζαρντ. Ο χαρακτήρας του Χάζαρντ είναι πιο περίπλοκος και αληθινός γιατί βασίζεται στον αγώνα της συγγραφέως με τη νηφαλιότητα. Όσον αφορά την Λίζι και τον Ράιλι, συμβολίζουν τη θετικότητα. Προσωπικά θα ήθελα και την πλευρά της Μπέτι Γου γιατί την λάτρεψα και θα ήθελα να μοιραστεί τη συνταγή της για σούπα γουόν-τον! Παρόλο που είναι μία ετερόκλητη ομάδα ανθρώπων καταλήγουν όλοι να εξάρουν την αφοπλιστική δύναμη της ειλικρίνειας που είναι το βασικό θεμέλιο της φιλίας. Είναι ένα ταξίδι αυτογνωσίας για τους έξι ήρωες που εμψυχώνει και εμάς τους αναγνώστες.
The Authenticity Project follows the lives of 6 people, who have all expressed the deepest truths in a textbook that they have found. They come together from their different lives, to form friendships and bonds to last a lifetime.
I think the best part of this novel is the incredible characterization. I fell in love with all of the characters in their own way. They had deepness and layers beyond the initial exterior, which the different chapters from differing character perspectives really helped to accentuate. It was wonderful to see them bloom as the novel progressed. I also loved the relationships between them. This book truly highlights how important good friendships are to people’s lives.
At times I found myself getting a little distracted from the book. But I have been unwell whilst reading this so that may explain why. The ending left my heart physically aching. It was poignant and moving, and felt like a great way to wrap up the novel.
I’m now really intrigued to read more of Clare Pooley’s work. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an easy read with a touch of romance!
Ήθελα να διαβάσω ένα ευχάριστο βιβλίο για να περάσει η ώρα μου χωρίς πολλές σκέψεις και δύσκολα νοήματα. Παραδέχομαι πως το συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο, μου κράτησε πολύ καλή συντροφιά. Σαν να παρακολούθησα μια ρομαντική ταινία με όμορφους και διάσημους ηθοποιούς. Το τέλος ήταν προβλέψιμο αλλά δεν με χάλασε ιδιαίτερα. Είχε όμως και μια ανατροπή σε κάποιο σημείο που με αιφνιδίασε ευχάριστα. Ωραία η ιδέα με το πράσινο σημειωματάριο και η συγγραφέας την εκμεταλλεύτηκε συστήνοντας στον αναγνώστη πολλούς και διαφορετικούς ήρωες. Κάποιοι από αυτούς με πολλά κι άλλοι με λιγότερα προβλήματα. Δεν μπορώ να πω πως ταυτίστηκα με κάποιον, αλλά αυτό δεν με ενόχλησε. Εύκολο βιβλίο αλλά όχι απλοϊκό. Χάρηκα που το διάβασα!
This book was absolutely charming. Each character has their story to tell and their own authentic selves to share which they do through a notebook. Each time a story is told the notebook is then left for someone else to find and because people are essentially good, each new person feels like they should help the person before. This results in a chain of good deeds that brings them together and changes their lives. Each new writer propels the plot forward as they read the previous stories and take action. There are a lot of characters but they are all so different that it was never confusing, even when their stories all connect. I quickly grew attached to many of them and even characters I didn’t particularly like at first grew on me as I got to know them.
Things can't be all sunshine and puppies though so you know conflict and drama are coming to tear it all apart. I was a bit sad to see the friendships built in the first part of the book break down. You would think that with everyone baring their souls in the notebook that they wouldn’t be hiding too many secrets from each other but this is absolutely what happens and anguish ensues. In the end everyone has some sort of a conclusion to their story and it is for the most part positive and happy, but also bittersweet. I became emotionally attached to these characters and I admit I was a bit teary.
This is a story with a great big heart and a lot of humour. It’s a feel good read that will make you wonder about the stories of those around you and maybe encourage a little more kindness and understanding as everyone has their own authentic selves hidden inside and it may not be the image you see.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and Viking for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.
"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."
These are some of the words written on the inside of the green notebook titled The Authenticity Project. Julian, a lonely 79-year old man started the project by writing his truths in the notebook and passing it on by leaving it a cafe. The finders of the notebook are invited to write their own truths in it and pass it on.
The story is told from the POV of the six characters who wrote in the green notebook. They are all looking for change in their lives. Through their actions and encounters, we see the effect facing their truths has on their own lives as well as others'.
This story is uplifting, thought-provoking, and entertaining. It shows it's never too late for new beginnings. This book is also a reminder that sometimes what we're looking for may not truly be what we need.
Two and a half stars. I was quite looking forward to this book, even though I had read something along similar lines recently. The story starts with Monica, a café owner, finding a small green note book titled The Authenticity Project with the date. Inside are a few paragraphs asking, ’How well do you know the people who live near you? How well do they know you?’ And challenging people to share the truth about themselves. So it all sounded interesting. After reading the entry from Julian, Monica writes her own. And so it goes on as the book makes its way from one person to another. So the reader gets chapters from several different people and the interactions that form between these people. To me this is book that suffers from too much hype and comments on the cover. Although it was an okay read, it was not as good as I expected. This is largely due to the characters. I never warmed to any of them. Two in particular drove me to distraction. Julian with his self-importance and posturing and Alice who was just plain annoying. I felt like shaking her and telling her to get a real life instead of a pretend one displayed on Instagram. Monica was a control freak who has trouble letting go, the Australian Riley was meant to be cool, laid back and likeable and yet came across as clueless and stupid. Hazard, is when the reader first meet him, a drug and alcohol addict. And so it goes. Although the story had some good parts, the longer the book went on the less enjoyable I found it and certain aspects of the ending I simply couldn’t buy into. The other thing that annoyed me was the reference to Koala bears. When are people going to realise there is no such thing? They are simply koalas. No relation to a bear at all. With the internet these days, it is not that hard to get facts right. There are going to be a lot of people who will love this book. I’m just not one of them. Timing of reading, could have a lot to do with it as I’d just finished a thoroughly absorbing, well researched novel with fully real fleshed out characters. In contrast those in The Authenticity Project all seemed shallow. Sadly, in the end I found them and the book unauthentic and just an okay read. But if it sounds like something you might like, give it a go. You may be one of those who really enjoys it.
Πόσο καλά γνωρίζεις τον κόσμο γύρω σου; Πιστεύεις ότι είσαι σε θέση να οδηγηθείς σε συμπεράσματα για τη ζωή τους, ακόμα κι αν τους πλησιάσεις; Κι αν ναι, τότε πόσο σταθερές είναι οι απόψεις τους; Δεν αρκεί μια στιγμή για να ανατραπούν δεδομένα χρόνων;
Αυτά και άλλα πολλά ερωτήματα έρχεται να απαντήσει το Πράσινο σημειωματάριο . Με φόντο το cozy καφέ της Μόνικα, μια ομάδα αγνώστων μεταξύ τους ενώνονται με αφορμή ένα πράσινο τετράδιο. Ο Τζούλιαν Τζεσόπ, ένας μοναχικός και εκκεντρικός γέρος αποζητά μια σανίδα σωτηρίας που θα τον σώσει από τη θάλασσα της μοναξιάς. Ξεκινώντας ένα πείραμα αυθεντικότητας, καταγράφοντας την αλήθεια του σε αυτό το τετράδιο, καλεί τον επόμενο κάτοχο του να πράξει το ίδιο, ώστε να έρθουν όλοι αντιμέτωποι με αυτό που κρύβουν πολύ βαθιά: την πραγματικότητα. Στην πορεία όμως ό,τι πίστευαν πως ίσχυε για τους εαυτούς τους, αλλάζει, χάρις ενός παράγοντα που κάθε άνθρωπος αποζητά: τη συντροφικότητα.
Πρόκειται για ένα υπέροχο βιβλίο, με ένα σωρό μηνύματα που θα αγγίξει κάθε σύγχρονο άνθρωπο. Όλοι πιστεύουμε ότι είμαστε αυθεντικοί μέχρι μια δυσάρεστη στιγμή να συνειδητοποιήσουμε ότι πουλήσαμε την αλήθεια μας. Όλοι πιστεύουμε ότι μπορούμε να βγάλουμε συμπεράσματα για τους πάντες με μία μόνο ματιά ή ακόμα και για κοντινούς μας ανθρώπους, χωρίς να έχουμε ακούσει την αλήθεια τους. Βολεμένοι σε μια απρόσωπη και ψυχρή κοινωνία προσπερνάμε καθημερινά δεκάδες ανθρώπους που ως επί τω πλείστον νιώθουν όπως εμείς: μόνοι. Αυτό το τρυφερό και πολύπλευρο ανάγνωσμα θα θυμίσει στο κοινό μέσα από την άψογη γραφή του πως σαφώς και θα κοπιάσουμε να βρούμε αυτό που θα μας γεμίσει, αλλά αξίζει κάθε δυσκολία. Αν πάψουμε να ελπίζουμε μένοντας στάσιμοι και αδιάλλακτοι, δεν πρόκειται να καλυτερέψει τίποτα.
Είναι από τα πιο όμορφα και αισιόδοξα βιβλία που έχω διαβάσει. Η συγγραφέας καταφέρνει να σε κάνει κομμάτι της ιστορίας και φίλη των ηρώων. Οι ήρωες είναι απλοί και καθημερινοί άνθρωποι σαν όλους εμάς και ο καθένας μοιράζεται μέσα από τις σελίδες του "τετραδίου της αυθεντικότητας", τη δική του αλήθεια και τις πιο ενδόμυχες αποκαλύψεις της ζωής τους. Έξι ξεχωριστοί άνθρωποι θα δεθούν με δεσμούς φιλίας και έρωτα και υπόσχονται να σε κάνουν να γελάσεις αλλά και να συγκινηθείς πολύ!
Το διαβάζω ανόρεχτα εδώ και κάνα 2μηνο ( ; ), και το πήγαινα καρφί για μοναστερο. Είχα έτοιμη "κριτική" : Οσο το διαβαζα, σκεφτόμουν "μα ποιος διαβάζει αυτές τις δηθεν feel good πίπες ;" και θυμήθηκα επεισόδιο Απαράδεκτων (Ασφαλεία Ζωης) όπου ο Χαλακατεβακης πιάνει την κουβέντα με την Δήμητρα στο ασανσέρ στην έξοδο και από κάτω φωνάζει ο Γιάννης "ποιος ηλιθιος κρατάει το ασανσέρ;" - Δήμητρα: "εγω". Εντάξει, μανούλα ΒΠ, "εξομολογηθηκε" τον αλκοολισμό της σε ένα blog, έκανε κάτι μαθήματα δημιουργικής γραφής, και μετά λίγο από εδώ,λίγο από εκεί, εγένετο best seller. Οι χαρακτήρες είναι χάρτινοι, η γραφή είναι χάλια, σαν εκείνες τις επιστολές 15χρονων που δημοσίευε στο πρωτοσέλιδο της η Ελευθεροτυπια πριν καμιά 25αρια χρονια, το όλο εγχείρημα είναι τόσο κλισέ που θες να πέσεις στο αλκοόλ. Α! Και φυσικά βρήκα το twist (περιμένοντας όμως ότι υπάρχει twist). Απλά στις τελευταίες σελίδες όντως δεν το άφηνα από τα χέρια μου, με όλα τα κουτάκια του τετρις στην θέση τους, βλέποντας στην πράξη το μαγικό τρόπο επίδρασης του κλισέ πάνω σου. Εννοείται ότι είναι μαλακια, και θα φριξεις, εκτός αν είσαι 13χρονη που μόλις της ήρθε περίοδος, ή μεσηλικη που μολις της κόπηκε (ιιιι.... θα με γράψουν στη φεμιναζι, μπαρδον, φεμινιστικη στηλη της Γλειφω). Γιατί ροζ λογοτεχνία είναι, όχι ότι είναι κακή απαραίτητα η ροζ λογοτεχνία, όπως ένα μισοκιλο παγωτό σοκολάτα δεν είναι απαραίτητα κακό, αλλά αφού το φας σκέφτεσαι "τώρα τι το θελα αυτό ;"