The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

A book about a road trip…….

This is likely to be a fairly short review because I only gave birth 5 days ago to little Elsie.

So, not a conventional road trip in a car but I think it fits well enough. Dear old Harold sets off from his home and made his pilgrimage by road. It’s not a book I would have picked up to read because I desperately wanted to however my Mother in Law bought it and it looked like a nice easy read for this tired and emotional time of my yharold-fryear where I am very busy so I took it. I also have read quite a few books recently which are about lost people (mentally, emotionally or physically) so it seemed a little samey. I know what is going to happen and a bit of suspense always helps my enthusiasm to continue to read.

The story is, of course, about Harold Fry. A retired oldie who receives a letter from a former work colleague, Queenie Hennesey. She has cancer and not long to live. Harold is a man of few and distant words however, the product of a troubled and cold childhood. He never quite knows how to conduct himself or know what to say to put people at ease. His reply to Queenie Hennessy is brief and on his way to the postbox Harold decides to keep walking. He is going to walk to visit her. He just needs her to wait. There is something from his past he needs to say. The only problem is that Queenie Hennessy is way north in Berwick and he lives far south in Devon. But does he make it and does he offload the way he needs to.Harold’s pilgrimage takes him on a journey that changes him and allows him the space and time to reflect on his life, his wife, his failings and his son.

As much as I did enjoy this book and did read it fairly quickly because I wanted to know what happened (and I have a lot of time whilst breastfeeding!) It didn’t inspire or motivate me in a way I was told it would. The plot is very simple and story reasoning is very simple and although that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just didn’t satisfy me. I found it hard to sympathise with the characters although I think that may be because I knew exactly what was going to happen…..apart from that one thing.

I was a little disappointed, however I loved the literary style and wording. I found it easy to follow and to read.