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

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As their lives intersect more and more, and they all benefit from helping each other, rather than focusing on their own problems. You just kinda have to go with the idea that some people aren't concerned about their privacy and make it fairly easy for the next reader of the notebook to figure out their identity. I feel bad for criticising the believability because at the end, the author says she was a Mummy blogger with a drink problem, in the same part of west London. 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.

Monica headed toward the left, looking out for an old man clutching a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream. In 1974, a troubled Vietnam vet inherits a house from a fallen comrade and moves his family to Alaska.With that ripple effect, I loved how this novel interwove and connected each character and their story to each other. Clare's dark but hilarious memoir, The Sober Diaries, has helped thousands of people around the world to quit drinking. Monica, the cafe’s owner, is a little dubious about unburdening herself in a notebook that will be read by strangers, but she has feelings she can’t express to anyone else.

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. Monica was a control freak who has trouble letting go, the Australian Riley was meant to be cool, laid back and likeable and yet came across as clueless and stupid. The local children ran in and out, as Mary plied them with stories, advice, fizzy pop, and Monster Munch chips.

My less successful artist friends constantly turned up unannounced for dinner, along with the latest of my artist's models. This was a personal story, for author Claire Pooley, so she had a few of the characters in the book, (Alice, Hazard, and Julian-see the acknowledgements page) face the challenges that she faced, and come out ahead! There are many great things about this book—one of them is its constant stream of memorably formulated insights about Alaska.

I disliked this ridiculous feel-good novel, stuffed with clichés and implausible caricatures of people, situations, and dialogue, and presumably sponsored by Apple *. It came close with Alice, who realises her brand “was all about authenticity”, but knows her posts paint sunny lie after sunny lie. Not only does this story show the reality of humanity, it shows the ripple effect that each person can have on each other.I guess this is chick-lit, so I looked at the only other such book I reviewed, nearly 14 years ago, Kinsella’s Can You Keep a Secret? The Authenticity Project follows the lives of 6 people, who have all expressed the deepest truths in a textbook that they have found.

Our social life revolved around the Chelsea Arts Club, and the bistros and boutiques of the King's Road and Sloane Square. And don’t get me started on the Australian character who Pooley uses as a dumb blond ignoramus which, for obvious reasons, made me mad. It’s now common knowledge that one of the best tools to tackle the climate crisis is to plant trees. Julian, a lonely 79-year old man started the project by writing his truths in the notebook and passing it on by leaving it a cafe.As in, a man his age would have been well into his 40s during the 80s and, therefore, his love for the clothes and music from that decade felt a little confusing and wrong. 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.

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