THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY is one of those books that, as you make your way through it, takes up a bigger and bigger place in your heart. That's how it was for me, anyway. Rachel Joyce's story of Harold Fry making his way to visit a sick friend dying from cancer, whom he feels he owes something, was a delight.
About the Book: (No Spoilers)
When Harold Fry receives a note from a woman he used to work with many years ago indicating she is dying and wishes to let him know that his friendship was important to her, he didn't immediately know what to do. He wrote a response to Queenie but on his way to mail it, began thinking that it was better if he delivered it in person, for many reasons, of which we don't know at this point. The circumstances surrounding their unusual friendship began twenty years earlier when the two worked at the same company. This decision to deliver his message in person was so important to Harold and instant that he didn't even think about it, or talk to his wife, Maureen about it. He just left. On foot. To travel more than 500 miles.
I thought the idea of this story was original and I was immediately intrigued by Harold's reaction to Queenie's letter. Its obvious that he and this woman share something, but I didn't feel like it was a romance or anything that simple. I had to find out what it was.
This story is told while Harold is walking along the many roadways and encountering people from all walks of life along the way. With each person he meets, we learn more and more about Harold and his seemingly unhappy life. I really enjoyed how these interactions also opened Harold's eyes. Like layers of an onion, each chapter shed new light on this most interesting man and he became more and more endearing to me. At the same time, Harold was also learning about himself and even his wife. My favorite part was learning about David, Harold and Maureen's son. If I'm honest, I have to say, I didn't really like David for much of the book and felt sad for Harold not having a relationship with him. But as the story was winding down and all of the details surrounding David were revealed, it absolutely filled my heart. Everything began to make sense: the morose, unfulfilled life Harold seemed to be content with, his strained relationship with Maureen, and the importance of Queenie's role in Harold's life.
I adored this book and I adored Harold Fry. Wisely, I chose to listen to his novel mainly because it was narrated by Jim Broadbent, a wonderful British actor of whom I've always been a fan..I actually read this book in December but after cutting my finger pretty badly, I was having trouble typing and couldn't do much on the computer for a good month. (I still have no feeling and it's very awkward) It was simply too hard to type so I put off writing my review until now. I am so glad I chose the audio version of this book. It was a treat to listen to and I recommend it highly! I doubt there is a better person to narrate this book. If you're not into audio books, I still recommend it highly because this is a lovely story about a man who learns that its never to late to be happy and every person out there has doubts about themselves - its how you handle those doubts that count.
THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY
Author: Rachel Joyce
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: July 2012
Length: 9hr 57min
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars