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May 26, 2015

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Harold FryThe Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

By: Rachel Joyce

If you are looking for an uplifting book with a few twists along the way, consider reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. I selected this title for a book club that I recently started for those age 50 and over, and I thought the group members would enjoy the main character, Harold Fry of Kingsbridge, England. He is recently retired, and has become very bored with retirement. Very little about his life changes on a daily basis, except his waistline (it gets bigger) and his hair (it gets thinner). One day, he receives a letter from someone he worked with many years ago. She is dying from cancer, and writes Harold to say goodbye. He writes her a response, and decides to walk to the nearest mailbox to send his letter. Harold meets a girl along the way who tells him that her aunt had cancer, and that faith got her aunt through the difficult times. As a result of this conversation, Harold becomes convinced that he can save his dying friend simply by believing he can. He calls her to tell her that he is going to keep walking until he gets to her (a distance of over 500 miles) and that she must keep living as long as he keeps walking.

And so Harold’s unlikely journey begins. He meets many unusual people along the way, and he learns something from each one. He also learns a lot about himself and his marriage. I enjoyed this book very much. Initially, I thought it would only appeal to people who are retired or nearing retirement. I changed my mind after finishing the book. I feel that adults of all ages would enjoy the book because Harold is such an endearing character and because the messages contained in the book are so relatable to all of us. Throughout this story, Harold is an underdog, and you want to see him complete his pilgrimage. I think many of us cheer for the underdog in any situation.

Review By: Cindy Christy