Cynthia's Reviews > The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
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Jul 31, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: books-read-in-2012
Read in July, 2012

Where to next Sancho?

Harold Fry is definitely an unlikely hero. He would also have easily been voted ‘least likely to go on a spiritual quest’. This makes him perfect for this story because it’s about unlikely thoughts, friendships, marriages, what have you. Harold’s quest begins with a letter from a former co-worker he thinks of fondly. They’ve shared a pivotal moment in Harold’s life. He reads the letter soon after he retires from said job and he reads it in front of his continually carping wife, Maureen.

Harold doesn’t even mean to go on a quest. He scribbles some benign well wishes on a card to his dying co-worker and sets out to mail it and somewhere along that mini quest his journey becomes epic as he decides to walk to her hospice with a vague belief that she’ll HAVE to wait to die until he gets to her. His steps will heal her.

He meets many kind, odd, and not so kind people along the way. Mostly he gets caught in his head and in his not so perfect past. He sometimes spins in circles, he has moments of clarity, epiphanies. Usually he just tries to put one foot in front of the other. Even this is a challenge when he realizes he’s going the wrong direction or in loops. There is a place in the book where I was afraid things were going to go down an ordinary path. I felt let down. Then Joyce showed the reason she teased us with that route. I loved the humor in “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry”. I loved the spiritual quest even more.
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Dagny (new)

Dagny There is something for which we can thank continually carping wives, lol.


message 2: by K.D. (new) - added it

K.D. Absolutely If I am not mistaken, this is longlisted for Booker 2012. Those twinkling 5 stars are now telling me to look, buy and read this book. Thanks, C.


Cynthia Dagny wrote: "There is something for which we can thank continually carping wives, lol."

Dagny it's an incredibly touching love story at its center. The carping makes it doubly believable.

Men need us women to harp at them right KD?


message 4: by K.D. (new) - added it

K.D. Absolutely C, certainly. But don't you think that it works both ways?


Cynthia K.D. wrote: "C, certainly. But don't you think that it works both ways?"

Lord yes :(.


message 6: by Carol (new)

Carol Heard about this book twice in one day and if Cynthia likes it, well, another on the pile.


Cynthia And like KD said it's on the Booker long list? The only other book from that list that I've read is 'bring up the bodies' which I also loved.


message 8: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue Love your review. This sounds like my kind of book.


message 9: by Lawrence (new) - added it

Lawrence Windrush Decided to buy it on my kindle on the strength of your review


Cynthia Hope you like it Lawrence. Pleae rport back.


Angie I listened to this audio book this past week and thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters he met along the way were one of the best parts for me. I became somewhat discouraged about halfway through because I didn't really see the importance of Queenie in his life. That however is when the book picked up speed and I loved the way everything was revealed in the end.


Cynthia Sounds like a fun recording!


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