Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Rachel Joyce)

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are simply my own honest ones and I have not been asked to write this review. Not everyone may agree with my thoughts and that’s okay! I hope you enjoy reading about mine.

Rating: 5 Star

Synopsis
Harold Fry gets a letter from Queenie Hennessy (an old friend and colleague) who he hasn’t spoken to in many years. The letter tells him she has cancer and is dying.

Harold decides to send a letter back and leaves the house with it to put it in a post box at the end of his street. Once he gets there he doesn’t stop – he keeps walking, resolving to post it at the next box, and then the next box, until he’s walked miles, spoken to a young girl at a garage (who’s aunt battled cancer) and come to the conclusion that it would be best to walk all the way to Queenie and speak to her in person. He makes a call to the hospice she’s at and asks the nurse to please let Queenie know that Harold is walking to her, it will take some time, but she needs to wait for him to get there.

He believes that as long as he walks, Queenie will live.

Review
This book was one of those pure and beautiful ones. I’m not sure if it’s because Harold is in his mid to late sixties and a quiet, genuine, sweet man who’s life story sort of tears at your heart, or if it’s because of the simplicities of this plot. Harold is determined to walk over five hundred miles (with no training or proper equipment) to the hospice with the mentality that it will save his friend.

He leaves behind his wife, who he’s had a falling away with many years ago and begins his months long journey to Queenie. Along the way, in a classic journey style storyline, he meets many different people who’s lives are shared with him and Harold listens patiently to each one, taking a little bit from every person until he comes to the end of his journey a very different man than he started.

Like I mentioned, the whole premise of the book is very simple and yet somehow beautiful in that idea of a physical journey bringing on personal growth for a character. It changes his life in profound ways, and each person he meets aids in that change in some way or another (whether they’re good or bad people.)

The ending is beautiful and realistic and perfect, with a bit of a plot twist to keep things interesting just when you think things have ended.

There isn’t very much to say about this book other than that it’s a beautifully written, quick read that is absolutely sure to warm your heart. I read it for my library’s book club at the end of this month and I’m glad I did. If you enjoyed The Five People You Meet in Heaven (Mitch Albom) then you may enjoy this book, as well. It’s not exactly along the same vein but it was reminiscent of it because of Harold’s enlightening journey. Just really beautiful!

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