JulzReads

Reader, Writer, Reviewer

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

1 Comment

Published by Random House, July 2012 *****

The thing I like the most about this book was its distinct British-ness.  Harold Fry, the quintessential English gentleman, is defined by his manners and his unobtrusiveness.  But when he receives a letter from his dying former colleague Queenie, something inside him shifts, and he is motivated to walk the length of England to see her.  Queenie herself is a bit of an enigma, but throughout the narrative, she is a beacon.  As Harold walks, he ruminates over his life, his estranged marriage, his absentee son, and the parents who never wanted him.  His journey is also an evolution, as he learns to engage strangers despite their strangeness and to rely on nature and the kindness of others. His progress is marked as Harold’s confidence surges and falters. At one point he picks up media attention and entourage (much like Forrest Gump), and these misguided pilgrims force another change in Harold’s determination.

It isn’t until he is about to give up sixteen miles from his goal that the profound revelations that have driven the entire plot are disclosed.  The way Harold sheds the weight of guilt and the shame of how he has lived his life is significant and moving.  It was so worth taking the journey with him for the eloquent finality of the conclusion.  The writing is beautiful (and did I mention oh-so-British?) and fraught with emotion, but satisfying in its simplicity and directness.  I really enjoyed getting to know Harold and his wife and the many intricacies of their situation.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.

Author: Julie Merilatt

I live in a Chicago suburb with my husband and a house full of books. Book collecting, reading, and reviewing consume my life. I have a special affinity for all things Alice in Wonderland. I began my education at Carthage College, wanting to be an English teacher. Eventually I decided that Carthage and I weren’t a good fit anymore, so I transferred to North Park University, where I realized I didn’t want to be a teacher. So I finished my education with a degree in English with a writing concentration. I was always a voracious reader and wrote my first review in April 2007. I don’t remember why exactly I decided to write a review, only that I had just finished The Agony and the Ecstasy and had a strong feeling that I needed to express how I felt about it. This inspired me to write reviews about each book I wrote and after posting on Amazon for two years, I was invited into the Amazon Vine program. I am also an active reviewer/member of Goodreads and enjoy being an active member of the online book community.

One thought on “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

  1. I have this one waiting for me and can’t wait to crack it open. It’s one I’ve been looking forward to reading for quite some time.

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