The story of a solitary green notebook that brings together six strangers and leads to unexpected friendship, and even love

Julian Jessop, an eccentric, lonely artist and septuagenarian believes that most people aren’t really honest with each other. But what if they were? And so he writes–in a plain, green journal–the truth about his own life and leaves it in his local café. It’s run by the incredibly tidy and efficient Monica, who furtively adds her own entry and leaves the book in the wine bar across the street. Before long, the others who find the green notebook add the truths about their own deepest selves–and soon find each other In Real Life at Monica’s Café.

The Authenticity Project’s cast of characters–including Hazard, the charming addict who makes a vow to get sober; Alice, the fabulous mommy Instagrammer whose real life is a lot less perfect than it looks online; and their other new friends–is by turns quirky and funny, heart-breakingly sad and painfully true-to-life. It’s a story about being brave and putting your real self forward–and finding out that it’s not as scary as it seems. In fact, it looks a lot like happiness.

Authenticity project

This is so not my genre. The type of stuff that usually makes me cringe but I LOVED this book. I loved almost all the characters from tidiness freak and uptight Monica, ageing artist and philanderer Julian, beautiful airhead Riley (OK he’s not really an airhead but people think he is) and poor Alice, struggling with baby Bunty, her Instagram ‘other’ life and selfish husband Max. The jury is still out on Hazard (even the name makes me cringe). But the story is a wonderful tale of sadness, happiness, loneliness and friendship with lots of great peripheral characters like Mrs Wu and Lizzie and of course Keiths one and two. So much humour and pathos and some totally unexpected twists and turns. I hope there is a sequel.

Many thanks to The Pigeonhole for giving me the opportunity to read something I would never have chosen for myself, to my fellow Pigeons and to Clare for popping in to join us.

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