Name of the book: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Name of the Author: Rachel Joyce
Year of publishing: 2012
Number of Pages: 320
Having retired from the job at the brewery, Harold Fry is leading a monotonous life with his wife Maureen in Kingsbridge. One morning as the couple was engaged in their own morning rituals, an unexpected mail arrives. The sender of the letter is a woman Harold hasn’t heard about for twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to bid farewell to Harold. Harold immediately writes a reply and decides to walk to the nearest mailbox to send it.
However, there was something inside him that persuades him to deliver the letter in person. So he dismisses the thought of posting it and starts his pilgrimage to Berwick to meet Queenie.
I first heard about this book when I was watching the interview of author Santa Montefiore. This book was a part of her summer reading list so I decided to read it during this summer. And undoubtedly I made the right choice!
I fell in love with the book immediately from the first page itself. It was rather evident that Harold and his wife shared a miserable marital life. And as a reader, you are tempted to read further to find out more about them.
The book has been divided into several chapters and to me, it was more of a collection of short stories. In each chapter, Harold encounters different people; from a garage girl to a manager in the cafe. Each of them tells a story and influences Harold in some way. As chapters progress you get to see a change in Harold and his nature.
My favorite parts are when Harold makes this long solo journey through the countryside amidst hedgerows eating wild berries. Often he engages himself in his past. He looks back to his life; his father, wife, son, and Queenie. I felt this is a reminder for all of us to have a moment of our own during our busy schedule.
For a first novel, Joyce has written an incredible story. From the title of the book to the characters, everything is well organized. The story has the energy of an adventure and at the same time, it’s emotionally gripping.
I don’t think I would be able to find the right words to describe the essence of the book completely. It’s one of those books where you feel the character and their life only by reading it.
As a whole, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is inspiring. It’s about true friendship, forgiveness, self- realization and humility. A