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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

By Rachel Joyce

Harold Fry is jolted out of the monotony of his recent retirement by a letter from an old friend, Queenie Hennessy, disclosing that she has cancer. When Harold walks to the postbox to mail a short return missive, he finds he cannot put the letter in the box and keeps on walking. Before the day has ended, he decides he must continue walking until he personally delivers the letter to Queenie, filled with the conviction that in doing so, he will keep Queenie alive.

Harold’s journey carries him hundreds of miles across England, and deep down the path of his memories as he is forced to come to terms with personal events that led to the twists and turns in his own life. He experiences physical and mental joys and anguish as he journeys on, ever hopeful that his trip will not have been in vain. He encounters a delightful and mostly believable cast of characters on his way and discovers a previously unknown gift for connecting with people–perhaps a gift born of his remarkable undertaking and the realization that “the world was made up of people putting one foot in front of the other.”

Harold Fry’s journey is heartwarming and inspiring. It encourages readers to look within ourselves to examine the roadblocks that impede us from living more fully and from making the most of relationships we are blessed to have. One hopes that such a realization will strike earlier than it did for Harold Fry, but as the author aptly points out, “the least planned part of the journey, however, [is] the journey itself.”

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