It’s been a minute or two since there was a new post on Another Year of Books. After reading Group, I quickly read through three other books (but didn’t post about them). By the end of February, I had already finished 10 books this year, so I decided to take a break. I couldn’t get myself to pick up one of the many books I have to read from my bookshelves; instead, I spent my time skimming books I have read before, which is what I do everytime I can’t get myself to focus on one book.
On March 5, I picked up this next book. It was a Barnes & Noble monthly pick in January, and I found it when we stopped to browse one day.
Book Read: The Authenticity Project
Author: Claire Pooley
2021 Book Count: 11
One day, a lonely artist, Julian Jessop, goes to Monica’s Cafe and leaves behind a plain green journal. He has titled it “The Authenticity Project,” and includes his story as the first. Monica sees the journal and tries to return it to no success; afterwards, she reads Julian’s entry and writes her own. Then, she leaves it in a wine bar across the street where it is picked up by a stranger.
And so it goes, until six strangers are connected by a single notebook. Their lives have unexpectedly become intertwined. Monica wants to bring lonely Julian out of his shell; Alice is an Instagrammer whose online life is much more impressive than her real life; Hazard is an addict who vows to get sober and help a stranger find her match along the way. Riley finds his way to the cafe after another points him in the direction; other strangers, including secondary characters, find their lives changed by a notebook.
As their lives begin to mix in Real Life, each person finds that the truth just might set them free. It might also bring true friendships and love along the way.
At first, I could not get into this book. I’m still not sure if it was the book itself, or just that I had a week or so where I couldn’t get into any book. Luckily, around page 50, I gained momentum and The Authenticity Project picked up speed. By the time I got over half way through, I wanted to keep reading it without stopping. I wrapped up the second two-thirds of the book quickly.
The Authenticity Project was charming. That’s the best way I can describe it. There wasn’t a single character I disliked. Each had their own unique journey, but it was well mixed with the others. Individual chapters focused on a certain character’s viewpoint, but also included the interactions with others, shaping their relationships. It never felt choppy and was easy to follow.
At times, yes, this book is predictable. Then again, most books are. Could I have predicted some of the character’s outcomes? For sure. Others, I didn’t see coming. It’s always nice when there is a surprise in a book. This one has a few along the way. It is also a story about living off your phones, off social media, in the authentic world, and how things are not always as they seem.
Overall, if you are looking for a charming, relatively quick read, The Authenticity Project is a book for you. It’s humorous, enjoyable and honest, all in one.
Next Read: One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London