Tag Archives: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Another Look at Harold Fry’s Unplanned Adventure

Book:  The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Author:  Rachel Joyce

Recommend:  This is a great vicarious read for those who love to walk, talk out loud to themselves and long for the great outdoors.  I takes a common man and shows us his personal struggles in an uncommonly insightful way.  Also, for anyone who cannot tolerate exposure to the sun, this book offers a virtual adventure along side the determined steps of a humble man’s solitary pilgrimage.

Setting out to run a simple errand, Harold Fry takes himself and the reader on a journey he did not chart nor plan for.  Ill shod and unprepared for his spontaneous trip, Harold suddenly summons the inner courage to step outside the known and venture out on a desperate quest he hopes will save a dying friend.  His persistence and plodding progress toward his goal become at times the end in its self, as his self-doubt and uncertainty battle against his desire to finish what he started, and somehow find a way to set his personal world right again.

The map of Harold’s journey

Haunted by the demons of his imperfect past, Harold finds faith and trust in the people he meets to overcome his many fears.  With each step, Harold finds a little more of himself, and learns to accept truths he has long buried and avoided.  He slowly rebuilds a dawning comprehension of primal values he once abandoned in response to the painful events his life.  I found this book especially enjoyable as I walked with Harold through its pages.  I trekked for hours down roads I could never personally walk, borrowing his perspective and the author’s imagination, I shared his steps and the reawakening of his heart and soul.

As a lupus patient, my auto-immunity makes me extremely photosensitive.  Lamenting my own ability to stand or walk in beloved sun light more than ten or fifteen minutes without aggravating my lupus, the idea of taking a much longed-for hike is especially welcome!

I strolled for miles next to Harold down winding paths through the rolling English countryside, and listened with him as he relished the voice each new bird’s song or echoing barking dog heard in the distance.  I shivered with him as the dank night air chilled his bony frame and dampness made him cower in the dark.  I encouraged him as he slogged through the rain, and quietly shouted hurray for him a hundred times over, as he grasped for each new ounce of strength to help him press on just a little bit farther toward his ambitious goal.

I felt as if my presence at his side somehow helped him.  I was the companion who understood his purpose when other companions failed to grasp his intent.  He trusted me with his true thoughts.

Rachel Joyce

Joyce spins her tale with skill, as she helps us understand the inner workings of Harold Fry through his winsome honesty, and artfully and patiently unveils the identity and humanness of the secondary cast of characters and walking companions.  His wife and son, Maureen and David, their neighbor Rex, a host of others, and lastly Harold’s friend that we finally meet at journey’s end, all become real and engaging.  Joyce paints a colorful host of interesting souls who are woven into the tapestry of Mr. Fry’s daunting hiking adventure. Joyce stands a great chance of gaining a stance beside two of my favorite authors, John Hershey and E.B. White.

Setting out to the mail box to post a letter will never be quite the same again!

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under general fiction, Review

Book Review: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Book: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Author: Rachel Joyce

Recommend: Such an amazing read. Anyone would find this one amazing.

I got this one in the mail a few weeks ago. I honestly wasn’t really excited about it. I pulled a few others of the ARC stack before I finally decided to buckle down and start it. The idea of reading a book about a recently retired man who had worked in a brewery for most of his adult life didn’t seem interesting. From the description, he seemed as dry as toast and just as interesting. I opened the book expecting to be completely disappointed.

I was pleasantly surprised that I was quickly engaged and was disappointed when I had to put the book down for dinner. I picked it up to see if I could get a bit further before bed and before I knew it, it was 3am and I had finished it. Harold Fry is bored. He is recently retired and has nothing to do with his life. His wife is distant and his son is never there. Then he gets a letter from Queenie, a woman he had worked with at the brewery and finds out that she is dying of cancer. He walks to mail a letter to her but his letter just seems completely inadequate. He walks to the next mailbox and the next. This starts a walk that spans over five hundred miles along the roads of England. A journey that will changed Harold and everyone he touches.

I loved this book. It was simple yet profound and the characters pulled the reader in. Harold was very easy to connect with. The way the author revealed more about his life in layers, letting the reader get to know him piece by piece made the story telling technique very effective.  The well-read will see the influence of the author’s favorite writers through the text in a positive way. It is one of the best examples of good writers being heavy readers I have seen in quite some time.

This is a book that will keep you thinking and want to pick up again.

Final Rating:

Need more than one copy!!

1 Comment

Filed under 2012, general fiction, Review, Summer book challenge

Books that shouldn’t hit the big screen

Okay, I like a great movie based on a book just as much as the next girl. I can’t tell you how much I love the current trend of turning much-loved YA books into film series. I currently can’t wait for Cassandra Clare‘s series to make it to film, starting with The City of Bones. I’m also eagerly awaiting November and the final Twilight movie. Not to mention Catching Fire!

Even when a book doesn’t follow the book exactly, many movies based on books are enjoyable. Some eclipse the popularity of the book (Gone with the Wind or The Silence of the Lambs are good examples).

However, just because a book is wonderful, doesn’t mean that it always belongs on-screen. For one reason or another, these books should never make it to film:

  1. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway – If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that there is no love lost between me and anything related to fish. This book however is mostly a guy sitting in a boat by himself thinking and trying to catch a fish. Might be interesting reading to many (not me but many others) but it makes for some of the most boring stuff ever put onto a reel of film.
  2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – I’ve seen the movie. It was entertaining. Then I read the book and realized how bad the movie is in comparison. While Hitchhiker isn’t among my favorites, the book has far too much to ever make sense in film!
  3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett – While my review of this book isn’t up yet (it’s coming soon), I was writing the review and realized that I really didn’t want to see the movie. This book is a whole lot of people sitting around talking and the action sequences wouldn’t make much sense. I have a feeling that a lot of the depth would be missing as well. I just don’t see that one going well.
  4. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – I love this book. It is an amazing read. I accidentally read the abridged version first and was appalled when I found out how much I was missing! There is simply no way to condense this story for film without losing too much of the story!
  5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – Again, far too long to condense down without losing too much of the story. Plus so much of the emotion in this piece would be too hard to translate into film.
  6. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – 300 characters. Do I need to say any more?
  7. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – Okay. I love this book. I am going to go see the movie. My problem is that there is NO WAY they are going to find kids that are smart enough and young enough to play these parts convincingly. Plus the chance that it is going to be very cheesy is extremely high.
  8. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce – I know you haven’t heard about this one on my blog yet. I have two reviews scheduled for this one because it is just that good! This one is all about a guy taking a very LONG walk. Definitely not something that I think will translate to film well. Internal dialogue books rarely do.

What books do you think should NEVER be turned into films?

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Worm's Obssessive lists