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The Authenticity Project: A Novel

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,109 ratings  ·  406 reviews
The story of a solitary green notebook that brings together six strangers and leads to unexpected friendship, and even love

Julian Jessop, an eccentric, lonely artist and septuagenarian believes that most people aren't really honest with each other. But what if they were? And so he writes--in a plain, green journal--the truth about his own life and leaves it in his local
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Pamela Dorman Books
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  1,109 ratings  ·  406 reviews

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Katie B
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

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
Susan's Reviews
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
Feb 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, ew
3.25 stars

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
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
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 ...more


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
Carolyn McBride
Jan 14, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

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.
ʚϊɞ Shelley ʚϊɞ
I had reverse metamorphosed from a butterfly into a caterpillar.

I couldn’t put The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley down this weekend. I was completely drawn to the idea of strangers meeting, and becoming friends, via a notebook. It was such an interesting concept and I loved reading the author’s take on it. I will admit, I was slightly worried this would be a bit saccharine based on the synopsis, but I still wanted to give the novel a chance. As the book gets rolling, I was still unsure
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Great characters, whose lifestories I found both relatable and entertaining, and a lovely, engaging style- I was drawn in from the first pages and couldn't put down the book until I discovered how the little green notebook tied the lives of these strangers together.
Full review to come closer to the publication date- February 4th, 2020.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Pamela Dorman for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
Christine Moore
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
Let me start by saying I loved this book and its incredible characters!!! I read this book very fast because I needed to know what would happen with everyone. Julian is an older lonely man who takes a green notebook and writes down his truth. He calls it The Authenticity Project. He leaves the notebook in Monica's cafe. She reads Julian's truth and adds her own. As the notebook travels and new characters are added and you read their truths , you realize how much truth you keep from yourself and ...more
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Omg I really loved this one! I wasn’t expecting to but I really did! I found a little bit of myself in all the characters! I loved how funny this was it reminded me of a Sophie Kinsella book! The characters were so heartwarming and it gave me all the warm and fuzzy feelings! It’s a great book to make you feel happy! I loved how all the characters were intertwined and the idea of the story, this book was amazing and I’m so lucky that I got to read it before it came out! So many people in the ...more
To read my entire review of this novel visit:

This story affirms how we all think that the grass is greener – that everyone else’s lives are better than our own – and how very misleading appearances can be. Also, how, by telling the bald truth, several disparate and flawed characters come together in friendship. A ‘feel-good’ read that confirms that happiness is possible but it sometimes requires more effort than a lot of people are willing to expend. Or
The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)
Full Review on The Candid Cover

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley is such a fun book to review. The characters are quirky and easy to relate to and the concept is really unique. This novel will have you feeling all sorts of emotions.

What is so intriguing about this book is its little green notebook that contains its authors’ innermost thoughts and feelings. As one can imagine, it becomes cathartic to the characters that write the truth about their lives. It is when these characters form
I would LOVE to leave a notebook in one of the local coffee shops I have frequented and allow people to write their "truths" in it, but where I live (or probably in most places) I'm afraid the notebook would either be stolen (maybe that person's truth would be that they are a clepto) or people would write varying obscenities it in ("For a good time, call 555-1234"). But in a perfect world, an authenticity project notebook would be absolutely fascinating!
"The Authenticity Project" is so
Tara Weiss
Dear Hollywood: I think this one would make a great movie, so get on that please!

1. Amazingly crafted, colorful, relatable characters with of-the-moment problems.
2. Cinematic filming locations with strong visuals: London, Thailand, maybe a bit of Australia
3. Romance, love, longing . . . relationships of all kinds!
4. A strong message about what it means to be real; this is a message WE NEED TO HEAR.
5. Full spectrum of human emotion from multigenerational points of view
6. Offers insight into the
Samantha (WLABB)
Rating: 4.5 Stars

While drowning in his own regret and loneliness, Julian embarked on a challenge, for himself and others, to be their most authentic selves. He shared his confessions in a small green notebook, which he then left in a public place, for others to do the same. This started a chain reaction of confessions and passing on the notebook, which led to connection, friendship, forgiveness, and redemption.

In the first part of this book, Pooley masterfully wove these stories together in
Hannah Higgins
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Omg! I was not expecting to love this as much as I did. I've sat up till half 1 in the morning to finish it. This story really has everything. Happy moments, sad moments, shocking moments and it had me literally laughing out loud. The characters and how they connected to each other was awesome. I particularly loved Julian and Mrs Wu. I honestly wish this book never ended and I could follow the characters forever

Thank you so much to the author and the pigeonhole app for giving me a copy of this
Feb 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book, but it was just okay for me. I liked the concept of “The Authenticity Project” and how the notebook was passed from character to character. I also enjoyed the diversity of the cast of characters and the friendship that they created but I just didn’t feel connected to these characters and their story. I felt it difficult to stay engaged to this book. This is most likely simply a mismatch of reader to book as others have reviewed this book much more positively.

Melanie’s reads
Oh how I loved this beautiful book and every word contained on the pages within. It’s a story that is tender at heart but that covers serious subjects including addiction, loneliness and post natal depression. You would think with such hard hitting stuff it would be depressing but it’s the complete opposite. It’s an absolute bloody joy with humour that will have you snorting your cuppa out of your nose (you have been warned).

You will fall in love with the characters and that will be all of them
Elvina Zafril
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley was charming and the idea of this book is creative. It was so entertaining and I couldn’t stop thinking about when I’m not reading it.

Each characters in this story has their story to tell which they shared through a notebook left by Julian. The Authenticity project. “How well do you know the people who live near you? How well do they know you? Do you even know the names of your neighbors? Would you realize if they were in trouble, or hadn’t left their
I thought this was going to be more like Pay It Forward, but no. Well, kinda… but no.

Julian Jessup is feeling old, left behind and lonely. He purchases a journal and titles it The Authenticity Project and makes the first entry. He enters his name and explains he's a painter who achieved his peak of fame in the 1960's. His wife passed away and he spends his time at home alone. He leaves the journal at Monica's Café, and Monica finds it cleaning one night. She reads Julian's entry and makes an
3.5 stars.

I finished American Dirt a few days ago and still feeling like I needed a lighter book after that, I grabbed this off my shelf. This was a sweet, uplifting story that was perfect for what I needed. I really appreciated the themes of honesty in friendship and community as these strangers gradually got to know each other because of a little green notebook in which they claim to share the truth of who they are. I also liked seeing how the characters changed and matured throughout the
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, 2020
I loved this book so much! It was charming, fun and quirky. It was definitely a page turner for me, I just couldn’t wait to see what happened next! It was such a fun read with lots of great characters. I’m kind of wishing for a sequel. I highly recommend checking it out!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Nicole • readingincanada
Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for my copy - all opinions my own!

I’ll start this by confessing: I sometimes get bored by books involving love or rom-commy things, which is something I’m working on, because yay happiness, right?! If you’re like me, and want happiness without too much light fluff, THIS is for you. The writing is GOOD, the characters are GREAT, and the plot is interesting with plenty of things going on without ever becoming confusing! I couldn’t be happier that I picked this
Liz Kirchhoff
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was so clever and charming! While it was a bit overly long in the middle, the author more than made up for it with characters that I loved meeting and spending time with. This would be a great pick for people who liked Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. ...more
Kimberly Mccune
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
This is one of the best modern fiction books I've read in a good while. I normally don't like ensemble protagonists (I usually get lost in names and relationships) but that technique worked so well here that the pages just flew by. What a beautiful journey. 5/5, would definitely recommend.
Shellie Risner
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. The characters were so different from each other that it kept the story interesting. It was easy to become passionate for each one. I hope that she continues with book 2. I would love to see where the story goes. Great job.
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a must read, a true feel good story about a group of people who find each other. Julian starts writing in a notebook he titles, The Authenticity Project, in which he asks questions such as who really knows their neighbors, or the truth about people around them? Telling his own story, he leaves the notebook to be written in, and it is after Monica finds it in her cafe. Writing her true feelings, the book continues on as more characters are added, and they end up forming a circle of ...more
Rachel Marks
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It is the perfect balance of warmth and wit. Cleverly written, it made me laugh out loud in lots of places and made me feel all warm and fuzzy in others. I loved the idea that is explored about the way people present an image and what's really hidden underneath that and the way all the characters linked through the authenticity project. Definite shades of classic Richard Curtis - I highly recommend.
Cassie-Traveling Sister-
Going into this book I knew immediately I was going to love it! The whole concept was amazing and it definitely had me questioning how well do we really know people, especially in the age where anyone can be anyone online! Julian and older man and former painter who lost his wife, and has some regrets with his life feels like everyone walks by him and no one sees him anymore decides to pour his feelings in a notebook and he names it The Authenticity Project. He leaves the notebook on the counter ...more
Jan 28, 2020 rated it liked it
This book had some good bits -- most definitely earned a 3-star review. I loved the idea of the notebook that brought the characters together. There are good surprises and disappointing surprises as the people who write in the notebook connect with each other and work on the challenges they had written about. So, it starts with Julian, then Monica, Hazard, Riley, Alice, and Lizzie take their turns. Where the project starts to fall apart is this -- the first person doesn't in theory get to read ...more
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Clare Pooley graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge and spent twenty years in the heady world of advertising.

When Clare realised that she was drinking way too much, she quit, and started a blog called Mummy was a Secret Drinker, which became a memoir - The Sober Diaries.

The Authenticity Project, Clare’s first novel, was inspired by her experience of telling the truth about her life.