Monday, August 20, 2012

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry ~ Book Talk

Harold Fry is a quiet, unhappy retired Englishman who receives a letter in the mail from an old colleague, Queenie.  Harold has not forgotten about Queenie but he has not thought about her in a long while. Suddenly she consumes his thoughts and mind. He has an awakening of sorts. Queenie tells him in her letter that she is dying and wanted to say goodbye.  Harold decides to send her a letter and in walking to the post to mail his letter finds himself on a mission to walk to Queenie and deliver the letter himself. This is the start of Harold's 600 mile pilgrimage to deliver his letter to Queenie himself. As he walks, he begins to remember things from his past, much of which he has repressed. With the choice Harold has made, to walk across the country in the clothes on his back, he has set into motion a series of events that will affect many. As the story unfolds, we uncover the reasons of Harold's actions and events that have caused the estrangement from his wife Maureen and his son.

I understand that Harold's walk...his pilgrimage, is a way to sort out his past, regrets, pain, sorrow and misunderstandings. We all make mistakes and can lose our way and some find themselves deeply entrenched and have trouble pulling themselves out. We need others to help us along the way to force us to see reality and face the truth. This happens to Harold and subsequently effects many others along his pilgrimage to see Queenie. 

In honesty, this book just didn't work for me. I found it depressing and unrealistic. I did not adore Harold, I found him annoying and a bit boring. I did like the ending which was a surprise and redeemed the book for me in many ways.  The book seemed to me a bit of a take off of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand which I my opinion, this did not have the same humor or strength of the story and characters that the Major had. 

Source: Public Library


  1. I just reviewed this one today too. I liked it more than you did, though I do agree that Harold was a somewhat boring character.

  2. It's nice to read a dissenting opinion on this one. I won't go in with such high expectations now.

  3. Oh my! I only read the last paragraph because I plan(ned) on reading this. I'm not so sure now. I wasn't head over heels for the Major Pettigrew novel, so . . . Eek!

  4. I really liked this one but I tend to like books about redemption and forgiveness. Plus, I liked both Maureen and Harold and usually when a marriage is troubled in some way, I side with one of the other but that wasn't the case here. I could relate to both of them.

  5. I loved it but that's no secret!! My oldest son told me I had to read Pettigrew and so it's on my list. I just mailed him my copy of this one so I can't wait to see what he thinks of it when he's done! I really liked Harold and could understand Maureen at times. The ending broke my heart.

  6. It's nice to get a different take on this book. I'm still not sure about it, but maybe someday I'll get it from the library.


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