Book Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent Lenten reading, actually…

I recently took up my priest’s annual challenge to take a word into your heart for the year. Any word that gets you closer to The Word. Give. Or Love. Maybe Suffer. Then keep it close by throughout the whole year. Let that one word change who you are.

My word for 2017 is Empathy, which might have been Father’s last year. My memory is a leaky bucket, but I think it was, because I vaguely remember fighting against it for lack of originality. Sometimes you don’t get a choice in the matter, though, and Empathy sort of chose me.

Then Harold Fry chose me.

I can’t say that I latched right on to Rachel Joyce’s writing. It didn’t grab me by the heels and pull like some do. But by the end I was enamored with her words, her subtle way of putting them together into palaces.

Her real strong point, however, is in her storytelling. She wove a marvelous tale. Honestly, I can’t tell you how many times I asked myself how in the world she was pulling me along with nothing more than description of passing scenery, or memory upon memory. They strung on endlessly, in what should have been a dry, brittle account, but she did it in a way that had me just enough.

It also helped that she is a master of foreshadowing. There were enough hooks in there to drag any fish along for the ride, and I certainly bit.

It wasn’t my very favorite book, at least for the first 80%. It was good, and I was still reading it, but I didn’t have raving things to say to friends and passers-by who inquired. Probably a four-star-er.

As you can see, I didn’t give it four stars though. I gave it five, and the last 20% of the book earned that last star over and over again.

What a surprising, insightful, painfully real story. No spoilers here, but there is a reason you should read this book even if you can’t quite figure out what it is.

And in case you’re keeping track, it’s another in the epistolary form. Who knew?

View all my reviews

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: