The Authenticity Project

by Clare Pooley


In a world where it is effortless to become invisible, it only takes one person – one brave person – to break the cycle of social fabrication...
and that’s exactly what Julian Jessop intended to do when he started The Authenticity Project.


There was no pomp or circumstance in how he started it – he picked up a pen and the spare notebook he found in his little cottage, and he wrote his story – however, sad it may be. After fifteen years of isolation, Julian was lonely, and he was lost, and he simply wanted someone to know that. When he was done, he realized the only way anyone would read his story is if he left it for them to find. That was when he remembered the owner of the little café called Monica’s, and his plan became became reality. 

That’s my story. Please feel free to chuck it in the recycling. Or you might decide to tell your own truth in these pages and pass my little book on. Maybe you’ll find it cathartic, as I did...What happens next is up to you.

And just like that, Julian’s story finds Monica, and Monica’s story finds Hazard. Hazard’s story finds Riley. Riley’s story finds Alice. Alice’s story finds Lizzie. Six strangers become more honest and more transparent with each other than they’d ever been with anyone else in their lives. They know the others’ stories, they know just how damaged they are, and yet, they’re still there. They aren’t scared away by the messy bits of the past or the absolutely terrifying questions of the future. They accept the people in those stories. Even better, they learn to love them.

I like to think that if I were Monica, I would have been brave even to write my story.

That I would have accepted Julian’s challenge – that I would have bared my deepest fears and desires on the college-ruled pages of the Authenticity Project and left it for a stranger to find – but honestly? I’m not sure I would have. With record-setting heights of expectations and the invention of Instagram filters and phrases like #blessed, we have every opportunity to hide who we are from the world. If we’re lucky, we have people in our corner who are willing to call us out when we’re obviously pretending like x, y, and z can’t bother us. If we’re not…we keep the crippling anxiety of x, y, and z to ourselves. 

The Authenticity Project is a perfectly modern and heartwarming tale of love, life, and loss in the digital age.

With a lovable cast, Clare Pooley’s book will have you laughing often, and when you’re done, The Authenticity Project will challenge you to tell your story to someone – anyone – because in the end, all we want is to be known. It’s rare that I get to squeeze in a Ewan McGregor quote (so please, indulge me), but I thought this one from Moulin Rouge summed up my feelings about The Authenticity Project pretty perfectly:

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

Me Before You, The Girl Who Reads on the Metro, A Man Called Ove, or anything by Elizabeth Berg, this book is for you.

Alcohol addiction, discussion of suicide, cancer, and other causes of death, a bit of swearing, and a few sexual situations/inuendos. 

15+ due to a bit of swearing and sexual references.

If you