This was a perfectly fine book. I do not regret reading it.
It also isn’t really to my tastes anymore (though I think the me of ten plus years ago would have loved it). It feels too pat and constructed, not ‘optimistic,’ that’s not the right word . . . I don’t know how to explain it. Just saying it’s not to my taste really anymore seems easier than trying to figure it out.
The premise is pretty high concept. A former artist named Julian, now an elderly man, starts a journal where he tells a story with supposedly no bullshit, no lies, and then passes it on anonymously to the next person, who is supposed to do the same thing. He calls it The Authenticity Project. As the journal gets passed on, the people who wrote in it have their lives changed by the unlikely community that builds around it. It does avoid descending into treacle, thank god, but it also didn’t make me weep with tears of joy or whatever.
The one thing this book got really, really right was the portrayal of one character’s addiction and journey to get sober. All the sections with that character, and all the plots he was involved in, were automatically the most interesting and felt the deepest emotionally. It did not surprise me at all when I got to the author’s note at the back and she confessed that she had struggled with alcoholism.
I didn’t really feel strongly against or for this one, so if it sounds interesting don’t let my lackluster review get in your way.