A good friend of mine recommended, “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.” It is South Fayette Library’s community read this month. I decided to read it, and I am glad I did. This book warmed my heart.
A sweet story about second chances.
Recently retired, Harold Fry has lived a life full of missed connections and poorly communicated emotions, but that is about to change when he receives a letter from a former co‑worker, Queeney Hennessy.
A quiet man in his later years, Harold cannot find the words to express to Queenie how he feels when he reads the letter. Queenie has cancer and it is terminal. Harold jots down a few quick words of encouragement on her cancer illness and impending death and heads to the mailbox to mail it. He gets to the first box and cannot bring himself to put the letter in the mail, so he walks on to the second, and the third. Before Harold knows it, he is making a pilgrimage 600 miles from Kingsbridge to the hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed dressed in trousers, a shirt, tie, and yachting shoes, with no maps and no cell phone. Harold believes, as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessey will live. Determined that his walk will somehow restore Queenie to health, he walks on. In doing so, he becomes a beacon of hope to people who are struggling with their own lives and problems.
This story was written in 2012 but the principles remain a true testament to the human spirit.
As Harold walks, he meets people who help him understand and restore his faith. He phones the care home where Queenie is being taken care of and tells them to tell her to have faith and stay alive until he arrives from his 600 mile walk.
Back at home, Harold has left behind his wife, Maureen, who is filled with worry that Harold is leaving her. She talks to her son, David and her neighbor who has experienced his own loss of his wife.
This unforgettable novel provides insight into the thoughts and feelings we all have in our hearts.
Written by Rachel Joyce this was her debut novel and she was awarded the “New Writer of the Year” award by the National Book Awards. It is well-written and allows plenty of food for thought.
Harold Fry manages to prove that you’re never too old to start fresh and make a change.