Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry; Rachel Joyce


Author:  Rachel Joyce
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Random House
Edition: ARC
Setting: English Village
Source: publisher
Date Completed: August/2012
Rating: 5/5
Recommend:  yes yes yes

Harold Fry is an unassuming man, now retired after more than 45 years at the same job. Even when he retired he chose to go quietly with no recognition or fanfare.  He's always seemed to go through the motions of life never pushing or challenging himself.  Married to Maureen for 45 years, their relationship reminded me of two ships passing in the night.  Everything that Harold does or doesn't do seems to annoy Maureen, to the point where they even have separate bedrooms.  Things apparently changed for them when something happened to their only child, David.

One day a letter arrives from a woman named Queenie Hennessy, who Harold had worked with years earlier. She was a woman he had lost contact with and in her letter she says that she is writing to say "goodbye".  Queenie is dying and spending her final weeks in a hospice facility some 600 miles away.  It is this letter that finally makes Harold take action and challenge himself.  Instead of writing back he decides while off to mail a letter to Queenie that he must "walk" to see her, sending a message and believing that if he does this, Queenie will live.

So begins Harold's "pilgrimage". Along the way, Harold reflects on his childhood (it explains so much about the man he became), his marriage - the kind of husband he has been and his role as a father.  Along the way Harold meets several interesting individuals who all seem to be unhappy in much the same way Harold is, each longing to be loved.

I was so moved by this story. I fell in love with Harold and was moved by his actions and revelations.  This story is so touching and literally left me with a lump in my throat at times.

A top 5 read of 2012 thus far...I adored it! Read it!

25 comments:

  1. Wow, your enthusiasm for this book makes me really excited. I hope to read it soon.

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  2. I hope to pick this up sometime too, after all the good reviews I've seen. Glad you liked it.

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  3. I thought this one looked like it might be interesting but clearly that doesn't even begin to describe this book. Hope to pick this up soon.

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  4. This is on my favorite books of 2012 too, Diane. I really liked it!

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  5. I love seeing the different reactions to this book! Most of the reviews that I've read have been glowing like yours, and they make me really want to read it!

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  6. This sounds like a book where the journey really changes the character. I'll put it on my list.

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  7. The more I hear about this book the more I want to read it--I love journey books, physical and emotional.

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  8. WOW! Your review gave me goose bumps!

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  9. Seems like everyone I've seen post about this book loved it. Will definitely keep this one in mind!

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  10. I've seen reviews of this everywhere, but your's is the first to convince me I should pick it up!

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  11. I adored it too. I loved everything about it. That ending left me speechless.

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  12. I'm glad you liked Harold Fry and his journey more than I did. I have a feeling reading it while I was ill was a mistake because I didn't have the patience to put up with Harold or Maureen. I did enjoy the reality of the characters he met along the way though and the story grew on me as I read. I really am glad I read it.

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  13. So many people loved this one, and I am so glad to have it on my pile to read. It's not everyday that a book receives love like this, so I am eager to get to it and find out what I think. Great review today!

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  14. I'm reading this now and am enjoying it, but I've had a ridiculously slow reading week. I hope that improves soon so I can finish this one you and everyone else seem to be raving about!

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  15. Wow! This sounds very affecting and worth reading. I've had my eye on this one for a while--now I know I really should read it! Excellent review, Diane!

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  16. What is wrong with me. I started this book..and it did not grab me. I think I need to try it again....

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  17. Yes yes yes--I think I need to read this one soon. We voted on it for book club but it was before I knew of the hype--will definitely need to make sure we vote again. Sounds like a touching story that will stick with you.

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  18. I like this book too. It was definitely a special book.

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  19. Everyone seems to love this one. I definitely need to read it.

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  20. As Jenners said, I read nothing but excellent reviews of this one and your endorsement as best of 2012 makes me want to read it!

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  21. Beautiful review on this one! I loved this too and cried at the end of the book!!

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  22. I loved this book! So glad to see that you did too.

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  23. I keep hearing great things about this novel! I usually wait until the hype dies down before reading a popular book, but this one has piqued my curiosity to let too much time pass. Excellent review. Thank you!

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