The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

The BookWalker Editor's Choice

This heartwarming novel follows a group of strangers brought together by a notebook that encourages them to share their true selves. They form unexpected connections through their honesty and vulnerability and learn to embrace their authentic selves.


The BookWalker The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

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Simply Beautiful!


“A clever, uplifting book that entertains and makes you think.”—Sophie Kinsella, #1 New York Times bestselling author.

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley is a heartwarming novel that explores the power of vulnerability, authenticity, and human connection.  The story centers around a green notebook passed from person to person, each sharing their deepest secrets and desires, ultimately leading them to form unexpected relationships.

The book begins with Julian Jessop, a renowned artist in his early 70s, and former storyteller who has been struggling to find himself after the death of his wife a decade earlier.  Feeling lonely, disconnected from the world, and under tremendous pressure from his neighbors to sell his cherished home to developers, Julian decides to embark on a new project.  In an attempt to connect with others, he writes his deepest thoughts and secrets in a green notebook and leaves it in a local café for someone to find, along with instructions encouraging them to share their own truth in its pages and pass it on; “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…. What happens next is up to you.”

Whether the book is discarded or becomes a vessel for personal stories, Julian leaves its fate up to the reader who finds it.

The green notebook is filled with unvarnished truths about Julian’s life.  In its pages, he confesses to feeling lonely and insignificant since the passing of his beloved wife Mary and intimately shares how he continues to hold onto his weekly ritual of bringing a glass of Baileys to a cemetery statue, a tradition that was once shared with friends and loved ones.

The notebook is discovered by Monica, the café owner, a successful and put-together woman, struggling with a secret addiction.  She adds her own story and passes the notebook to others, which in turn reveal their own struggles and secrets.

As the notebook is passed from person to person, their lives become intertwined unexpectedly. The characters are all flawed and complex, but as they open up and share their vulnerabilities, they find comfort and support in each other. The themes of authenticity and vulnerability are woven throughout the story, encouraging readers to embrace their imperfections and connect with others in a meaningful way.

One of the strengths of the novel is the depth of character development.  Each character is unique and fully realized, with their own hopes, fears, and motivations.  The writing is also engaging and witty, with moments of humor balancing out the heavier themes of the book.

The Authenticity Project is a touching and thought-provoking novel that reminds readers of the importance of human connection and the power of vulnerability.

A little background about the book.

Clare Pooley’s debut novel, The Authenticity Project, was inspired by her previous blog-turned-bestselling nonfiction book, The Sober Diaries.  In an author’s note at the end of the novel, Pooley shares how she discovered the transformative power of telling the truth about one’s own life and how this experience of publishing a book about her struggles with addiction and recovery had a positive impact on the lives of others.  In The Authenticity Project, Pooley explores this theme through the story of a new community that forms around a single act of honesty, showing how sharing our authentic selves can bring people together and create meaningful connections.


A warm, charming tale about the rewards of revealing oneself, warts and all.”— People

“The Authenticity Project is a rich roast of great characters, even better relationships, wonderful entanglements, and a few surprises along the way.  If Monica’s Café were a real place, I’d stop by every day..”
—Laurie Frankel, New York Times bestselling author of This Is How It Always Is

The BookWalker The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley Feature




Clare Pooley graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge and spent twenty years in the heady world of advertising before becoming a full-time mum.

Realising that her ‘wine o’clock’ habit had spiralled out of control, Clare started writing a blog, Mummy was a Secret Drinker, which has had nearly three million hits. Her memoir, The Sober Diaries was published in 2017 to critical acclaim.

Clare’s debut novel—The Authenticity Project, was inspired by her own experience of exposing the rather grubby truth about her own seemingly perfect life.  It’s published in thirty-two languages, was a Radio 2 Bookclub pick, winner of the RNA Debut Novel Award and a New York Times bestseller.

Clare’s second novel—The People on Platform 5 (titled Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting in the USA/Canada) is published in Spring 2022.

Clare’s talks include a TEDx talk – ‘Making Sober Less Shameful’, a talk for Radio 4’s Four Thought, and numerous podcast interviews.

Clare lives in Fulham, London with her husband, three children and two border terriers.

To find out more about Clare, please visit her website and join her mailing list:

It all feels like a warm hug.

—The Washington Post

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