Two words embody my overarching ambition, as both an author and human being: vulnerability and authenticity. Needless to say, the title of this novel pulled me inside its first page with compelling certainty.
As is the case with any good story that pays attention to character development, I saw a little piece of me in each point of view: Monica, Julian, Hazard, Riley, and Alice. It would be easy for me to say all the right things: how I experienced both their joy and pain alongside them, how I felt connected to their individual and shared plights. And I did. But it goes much deeper than that.
In the spirit of being authentically vulnerable, I relate to everything about this story and the characters in a painfully aware way. Yes, my goal in life (and perhaps it is the same for everyone) is to be authentic and vulnerable. But that first word is not always as simple to embrace as some make it seem. It is all too easy, like some of the characters in this novel prove, to bury the real you in the name of avoiding embarrassment, and to instead portray yourself in a light that is most favorably received by others. On social media and in-person.
And while I might fall off the wagon at times in the pursuit of my authenticity goals, it is stories such as this that lift me up. They help me realize we are all flawed. But we are also each perfectly imperfect. The objective is not to find our way to some mecca where every minute of each day is authentic. It is, however, an admiral goal to spend more minutes each day working toward that end.
This novel, while predictable at times, certainly had a few unexpected twists and turns that surprised me. And the manner in which the author completes this story, including her own thoughts and opinions after the final page of the fictional part, made me appreciate this novel and its impact on the reader in an even more profound way.
With a healthy dose of inspired reality embedded inside fiction, The Authenticity Project is the real deal.
Dave’s Rating: ☕️☕️☕️☕️
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