The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce opens with the receipt of an unexpected letter from a former coworker who is dying in a distant city in England. Recently retired Harold encounters difficulty in writing an appropriate response. After setting out to mail what he believes is an inadequate letter to the friend and influenced by a story told to him by a total stranger, Harold takes a very long detour. Deciding he must say goodbye in person, he sets out on foot to journey hundreds of miles to the hospice. He believes making this pilgrimage will save his friend’s life.
For the majority of his life, Harold has been a bystander. He is sixty-five and guilt ridden. His wife of many years blames him for everything. When he doesn’t return from his walk to the mailbox, she is completely baffled and thinks he must have Alzheimer’s. What she fails to realize is that for perhaps the first time in his life, Harold is taking a risk.
This is an interesting novel about life, regret, and the repercussions of our actions. It is a sad story in many ways, but I thought it was beautiful. It certainly made me reflect on my own life. The story’s message is poignant and a little soul searching never hurts! I recommend it!