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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel - Rachel Joyce

Since his retirement, Harold’s life revolved sitting around in his chair. Harold and Maureen have been living in a marriage of comfort for many years, both of them just living under the same roof with Harold looking for adventure and Maureen towing the line. When he receives a letter from Queenie, a spark is united within Harold as he reads that Queenie is dying from cancer and Harold has lost his words on how to respond to his old colleague. Harold and Queenie were close friends and Harold feels he must choose these words carefully. Talking about his letter to a young girl working at the petro station, this girl sparks an idea within Harold’s head. While serving him his first meal from a petrol station, Harold listens as she explains that Harold should embark on a walking journey to see Queenie. This positive journey would hope and energy for the patient. Harold is taken up with the idea immediately and without any planning, he calls his wife and he sets off on this trip alone. There is so much to love about his adventure. The author’s language was beautiful and I found myself writing down many quotes. Her ability to write directly from the heart in such a concise language is true talent: “For years they have been in a place where language had no significance.” “He (Harold) drove his feet harder, as if he wasn’t walking to Queenie as away from himself.” Harold’s wife Maureen is sure her husband will come to his senses and return home but as the hours and days progress, she realizes her husband is changing and will not be coming home as she hoped. When Harold began his journey he was a quiet gentlemen and as he puts the miles of road on his shoes, he becomes more open. Individuals share their stories with him and he becomes one with the people. The communications with his wife are cold and simple and yet in their own worlds, they each have thoughts which are not communicated with each other. As he walks through the towns, he stops and picks up souvenirs for his ladies which are such a sweet jesters. This shows the true character of Harold. Harold gets confused while traveling and the weather is not always cooperating but his heart is on a mission. What he hopes to accomplish when he gets to see Queenie after 20 years, we are not certain, but this journey is not just for Harold and Queenie. This trip encompasses everyone he encountered on his epic journey. You never know what type of impression you will leave on an individual, so be optimistic and be true.