The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry



I have to admit I was quite taken with The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (A) by Rachel Joyce. It left such an impression that for the very first time, I needed several days before I could start this blog.

Harold is a retiree whose days are pretty uneventful and ordinary. He and his wife, Maureen have lived together but separate for over twenty years. One day Harold receives a letter from Queenie Hennessy a woman that he worked with a very long time ago.  Queenie has written to say goodbye. She is in a hospice with not many days left. Harold writes a brief reply and decides it must be posted immediately. What begins, as a stroll to mail a letter becomes a pilgrimage of over ninety days. He must deliver his letter in person and he will walk the entire way.

Over the course of the journey, Harold meets many different people all with personal stories, lives and peculiarities. He begins to realize what has been missing from his very sheltered life. While walking toward and ending, he actually finds a beginning.

I thought this book was so well written. I felt like I took each step with Harold. His discoveries along the way gave me reason to stop and think.  What am I missing as I hurry from one day to the next? How much more can I get from each day? Can slowly down make a difference?

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry has one of the most powerful endings I have ever read.  I will not spoil it but will only say that it touched me in a personal way. Having lived through exactly what Harold encountered made the story all the more understandable and poignant.

Book club is still several weeks away but I am anxious for our discussion. I am sure everyone will be touched by something Harold has said or done. I encourage you all to read it too; there is much to learn here. I believe like me; you will not soon forget Harold Fry.


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