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The Authenticity Project: The feel-good novel you need right now

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I thought I needed a light read after reading a few intense novels, but The Authenticity Project, while enjoyable, was a bit too light. This is not the first book I have read by this author,I loved the last one and I loved this one more, such a clever story with so much heart and also a powerful message,I cried at the end because it was so warm and thoughtful,sometimes you read a book that stays with you and this one definitely will. 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. Along the way, there is social media, some hurt feelings and sadness, and ultimately contentment for most of the characters. 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.

In fact all the characters bring something wonderful to this story that I dreaded getting nearer to the end as I was enjoying their company so much. The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products. She is also touched by Julian story and decides she’s going to bring a little joy and purpose into his life. Each character has their story to tell and their own authentic selves to share which they do through a notebook.The references to famous people of the eighties Julian used to hang out with, his designer wardrobe and old LP collection, add plenty of colour and I loved the Fulham setting. She re-creates in magical detail the lives of Alaska's homesteaders in both of the state's seasons (they really only have two) and is just as specific and authentic in her depiction of the spiritual wounds of post-Vietnam America. 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).

What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling.The plot is indeed partly predictable, but “good” predictable, and (*spoilers alert*) even though I knew from the very beginning that Monica and Hazard were supposed to be together, I was still rooting for them the whole time and enjoyed their careful realisation of their feelings. 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.

There are too many other books out there that move me to force myself to read something I don't enjoy. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. 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. 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.There is a big surprise towards the end that I wasn’t expecting, and I did chuckle throughout, and “ahh” at the lovely bits. Clare’s memoir - The Sober Diaries - has helped thousands of people around the world to quit drinking. 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. Desperate to confess the deep loneliness he feels, Julian begins The Authenticity Project – a small green notebook containing the truth about his life – to pass on and encourage others to share their own.

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. She looped round at the top and was halfway back down the other side, walking along a less-used path, when she noticed a movement to her right. Clare’s first novel - The Authenticity Project - was a BBC Radio 2 Bookclub pick, a New York Times Bestseller and the winner of the RNA debut novel award. 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.Imagine you are walking down a deserted path and you come upon a bench and there is a journal left behind. The more he thinks about it, the more he realizes how little people really know one another anymore. Still, this definitely was a unique story with characters you couldn’t help but root for – and then, some twists and turns along the way. The plot and characters were far too weak and the writing too pedestrian to expect it to stretch out to almost 400 pages. 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.

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