Everybody lies about their lives. What would happen if you shared the truth instead?
Julian Jessop is living a lie. He’s lonely but refuses to speak to neighbours. He loved his wife when she was alive, but he didn’t tell her. (In fact, he wasn’t very kind to her at all.)
He feels invisible to the world but he doesn’t want to go out.
But now he wants to be honest. So he writes his truth in a small green notebook and leaves it in his local cafe.
Monica gave up a high-flying career as a lawyer to open her own cafe, but it isn’t going as well as she hoped. On finding the notebook, she’s both inspired to write her own truth and to help Julian out of his loneliness.
Little does Julian know that his one small act is about to bring a whole group of people together as they discover the power, and the danger, of honesty.
Oh but this is a delightfully wonderful read and one I thoroughly recommend as an antidote for these unusual and scary times. The premise of the book is simple and one we can all relate to – although some more than others.
Julian Jessop is in his twilight years and feels himself slowly disappearing from sight. He has lived a life full of colour and drama, embodying the character of eccentric artist to the letter. But now he wants his truth to be seen and so writes it in a small notebook that he leaves in his local cafe, allowing fate to deliver it into the next reader’s hands and inviting them to also share their truth.
As the book and his story go out into the world it begins a chain of events that will, ultimately, have a profund effect on both his life and the lives of those the book reaches.
I think the thing I loved most about this novel are the eclectic mix of characters. This story is all about people and each one is given the opportunity to share their voice.
Through them we learn that what we ‘see’ in others often hides a deeper truth of personal demons, difficulties and sadness. The hopes and dreams that live within us and that all too often remain there unseen. Yet owning up to our own truth is not as easy as it seems and can even change from moment to moment.
Only being honest with ourselves can bring healing to our lives. Acceptance of ourselves and of those around us, and their/our ‘flaws’ can bring kindness, empathy, love and ultimately happiness and contentment.
This is a wonderful story, a light-hearted and yet rather profound one that I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of. I loved all the characters and the colour they added to the story – I say added but they simply ARE the story. I would so love to pop along to Monica’s cafe and sit alongside them. I learnt a great deal from them in the pages of this novel but ultimately it was a story that made me smile and feel rather more hopeful about the world and the people in it.
Many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for Netgalley for my review copy. This is definitely one that I will be adding to my real life bookshelf!
About the author
Clare Pooley graduated from Cambridge and spent twenty years in the headyworld of advertising before becoming a full-time mum. She is the author of the hugely popular blog, Mummy was a Secret Drinker, under the pseudonym Sober Mummy and her memoir,
The Sober Diaries was published by Hodder in 2017 to critical acclaim. Her blog has had over two million hits and she recently gave a TEDx talk titled Making Sober Less Shameful.
Clare’s debut novel The Authenticity Project is inspired by the time Clare spent in advertising, a world where the line between authenticity and fiction is constantly blurred, and by her own experience of exposing truth about her seemingly perfect life in her memoir.
Speaking about the book, Clare commented: “Four years ago, my world, as portrayed on social media, seemed pretty perfect; in reality, it was falling apart. When I finally plucked up the courage to tell the truth, it transformed my life, and helped many other people. That got me thinking: everybody lies about their lives. What would happen if we told the truth instead? Perhaps nothing, but maybe something magical. That thought led to The Authenticity Project. I hope that the book gets everyone asking themselves ‘what truth would I tell?’”
Clare writes from her kitchen table in Fulham, London where she lives with her long suffering husband, three children, dog and an African pygmy hedgehog.Bantam Press