Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Publisher: Random House
Pages: 336
Released: 2012
Source: Publisher/Edelweiss
Rating: 5/5


Harold Fry has been retired for six months and now it seems that he’s at a crossroads. His wife is constantly nagging him, their son doesn’t talk to him, and his days all run into each other. When Harold receives a letter from and old co-worker, he’s shocked to learn that she is terminally ill. Harold sets out to send a letter but when he gets to the mailbox, his letter doesn’t seem like enough, he keeps thinking and walks to the next mailbox and then the next. Soon, Harold is at the edge of town, and he continues to walk. He vows to walk to Queenie, even though it’s a six hundred mile journey. He asks Queenie to wait, and gives her a reason to fight for her life.


I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry but I soon couldn’t put it down. When a man is walking six-hundred miles, he has nothing to do but reflect on his own life. It’s really interesting to learn about his troubles, and insecurities. Harold and his wife both miss each other, but they're so use to not showing affection that they're not sure how to react to one another. Both of them are not ready to take the first step. Harold left his house wearing the wrong shoes, he forgot his cell phone but he is delighted with the kind people he meets. It doesn’t take long for Harold to attract a following, but the quiet is really what he wants.

As Harold begins to reflect on his life, readers learn that his mother abandoned him, his father kicked him out, and he never really experiences a normal family life. Maureen really wanted to give him that, their life started out really happy and joyous but obstacles began to pile up. Harold’s intelligent son intimidates him and their relationship fell apart. Maureen and Harold began to forget the happy times, and Maureen moved into a different room. They no longer connected, and barely spoke.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was a great read. I kept rooting for Harold and Maureen and I wanted to scream at them for their stubbornness. Readers will immediately be captured by Harold and Maureen; they feel like real people, with real problems. Even though they are much older than me, I felt connected to them. Rachel Joyce really shines in her debut novel. This novel is about redemption and self-reflecting.


  1. I have read so many positive reviews of this book, and so few negatives! A very generous friend sent it along to me, and I can't wait to get into it. I really like cathartic reads, and I think this is one that I will enjoy. A very wonderful review today!

  2. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book about a quiet, lonely man walking. I thought I would find it boring, but it was a great book.

  3. All of the feed back on this has been wonderful, I love when you connect and scream at characters!

  4. Based on the book blurb this wouldn't normally be a book that would appeal to me. I've read so many wonderful reviews for this one, however, that I'm going to try it.

  5. I just finished reading this book and loved it too. Terrific review, Jennifer. You voiced exactly what I was thinking about the outrageous stubbornness of Harold and Maureen. I wanted them to stop being so stuck in the mud they'd created and reach out to each other.

  6. The premise of this book is so different that it has caught my interest. It takes a talented author to pull it through, and from your review, I can see she has.

  7. One of my favorite reads this year -- absolutely loved it! Was definitely crying by the end.

  8. I keep hearing so many great things about this one! I like the cover you have too.