The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
By Rachel Joyce
Random House, 2012. 320 pgs. Fiction
Harold is in his sixties, retired, and living a fairly mundane life. When the post arrives with a letter from Queenie, one of his old friends, Harold is saddened to hear that she has cancer. He writes back but on the way to the mail box a simple letter doesn’t feel like enough. He walks a little further to the next mail box so he can think. Then he walks a little further. Harold then decides to walk the entire length of England, all the way to Queenie. If he can just keep walking, perhaps Queenie can keep on living. Along the way Harold meets many interesting people, some which give him hope to continue on, others that make his journey more difficult. Yet, ever determined, Harold continues on.
This is a moving, character-driven story. Harold’s journey is interspersed with details of his life, slowly revealing who he is and why he feels so driven to visit Queenie. Just like Harold plodding along, the book had a slow and steady pace, but I never felt bored. If you find profanity offensive, be aware that there are a couple minor characters you won’t like, but for the most part the book is clean. I enjoyed it and would recommend it.