The Authenticity Project

The majority of books I’ve read or that are still on my looming ‘to-be-read’ pile are purchases from thrift stores, library book sales and book-swapping sites. It is extremely rare for me to purchase a newly published book; that is largely why I never do any kind of book review. However, my dear friend, Prin (aka Marnette), recently recommended a book to me in a responsive comment to my blog post “Lost and Found”. Prin is an avid reader, and her word alone was enough reason to make that kind of purchase. Thus, The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley recently entered my home.

I tended to have a preset idea that this book, while fiction, would be deeply psychological in nature. And, at the conclusion of reading it, I did take a few minutes to look more deeply at the characters from a psychological perspective, but didn’t dwell on the story from that view.

The story itself is charming. The author does a great job at introducing each new character to the story and with ‘fleshing out’ each character as the story progresses. The reader is given the ability to know something deep and dark about each character as the story unfolds, and, while each character is genuine in act and word, the reader quickly discovers that each is also hiding an even more authentic part of their persona. The hiding part is always brought about by fear of judgement and unacceptance.

I don’t want to tell too much of the story because I don’t want to give out any spoilers. It is an enjoyable read.

Although it was a lovely read, I was able to pull from it what I think Prin intended on a personal level. Knowing each character’s hidden authenticity did not distract me from liking each of them for who they were. None of the character’s fears about what they didn’t want being found out changed my perception of any of them; it made them even more human to me and, ironically, allowed me to like them more.

As these hidden secrets were revealed, the other characters responded with the typical emotions – anger, mistrust, fear. Sitting on the sidelines of the story, I could imagine myself reacting that same way. I admit, it made me trepid, though, about how people would react to ME when I revealed my own hidden secrets. I did feel validated that my own fear – in real life – was practical.

I would easily rate this book a 4.8 out of 5 stars. There was a small point – probably less than 20 pages – where the story began to lag for me, and that’s the only reason I didn’t give it a perfect 5 star review. Otherwise, it was an enjoyable read. And men, who might be looking for more insight into themselves, would also benefit from this book.

Thank you, Prin, for this excellent recommendation. I appreciated the story for the story’s sake itself, and I appreciate the glimpses I got of myself through others’ (even fictional characters!) eyes. In a way, reading it made me feel more ‘okay’ about myself, and I suspect that was your intention! Well played!

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