Thursday, August 20, 2015

Julie's Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry


Author: Rachel Joyce
Series: None
Publication Date: July 24, 2012
Publisher: Random House Audio
Length: 9 Hours 57 Minutes
Narrator: Jim Broadbent
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.75/5
Bottom Line: Slow to start but so worth it in the end
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack is a letter addressed to Harold from a woman he hasn't seen or heard from in 20 years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. ~audible.com  

Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is a book that I passed on several times. I just didn't have an interest in the story.With the release of The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy and my mom reading it, I decided to give it a whirl but in audio. Also, the fact that Jim Broadbent narrates it sold me it on it.

This novel is purely character driven with alternate points of views, Harold and his wife, Maureen. Harold is a bit of an ordinary man. He's just retired with no real hobbies and kind of unsure of what to do with himself. While him and Maureen are still married, they truly are estranged and have been for years. They sleep in separate rooms and maintain different lives. What drove them apart? Can their lives be woven together again?

Harold's walk to Queenie met with some interesting people along the way. Each inspires him in a different way to continue his walk to Queenie. As he walks he reflects on his life and the mistakes he made. He looks back as his childhood, his relationship with his mother and father.The relationship that he reflects on the most is that with his son, David. It is evident that they never connected and struggled to even be in the same with each other. It was Maureen who developed a relationship with David and cared for him.

Maureen harbors some ill feelings toward Harold and how he never tried to work on his relationship with their son. She blames him for all of their issues with David and doesn't remember the good times. The time away from Harold allows Maureen to reflect on her life and how she's treated Harold.

The book will affect everyone on some level or another. You will find yourself laughing and tearing up/crying. There are tremendous life lessons in this novel. It it about forgiving yourself, forgiving others, letting go of the pain and letting yourself heal.


Mr. Broadbent is the perfect narrator for this novel. He's wonderful as Harold, Maureen and all the other characters. His inflection is spot on and he really embodies where Harold is in his life. He does an equally great job with Maureen.

I'm sorry it took me so long to listen to this but sometimes a book it meant for you at certain times in your life and this was good timing for me. 




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