Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

by:  Rachel Joyce
published by:  Random House Audio
publish date:  July 24, 2012

Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn’t seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye.

I grabbed the audiobook for this from the library thinking it looked like a pretty interesting story and the very next day I saw it was on the list of nominees for the 2012 Man Booker Prize.  Since I tend to enjoy their nominees I was even more interested in reading this book. 

Harold is retired and living with his wife Maureen is a tidy little house in a small town.  Their lives are very mundane until the morning that Harold gets a letter from Queenie Hennessy.  Her letter says that she has terminal cancer and she's saying goodbye.  Harold struggles to write her back and when he realizes that his letters do not adequately convey how he feels he decides that he is going to walk across England and tell her in person. 

Harold sets out on his journey completely unprepared.  He learns to rely on the kindness of strangers along the way.  His story is picked up by the media and spread through social media.  Then his starts picking up Pilgrims, followers on his journey.

I loved this book.  I'm sure it'll make my Top 10 Favorites of this year.  I loved Harold and I even loved Maureen once I got to understand her.  I suspect a lot of people married for a long time will see some of themselves in Harold and Maureen.  I can't recommend this book enough!  Go read it!  Now!

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