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‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’

9/28/2012

Courtesy of Beaverdale Books

Review by Cathryn Lang

By Rachel Joyce

Random House

$25

HIV

320 pp

Harold Fry had never done a spontaneous thing in his life. He has denied and squashed any emotion beyond complacency. He and his wife settled into a silent, convenient marriage. As he sat at the breakfast table one morning he received a letter that caused him to weep. His only friend, Queenie, wrote from Berwick-upon-Tweed to say she was dying. Harold immediately wrote a condolence letter and walked to the post box to mail it. But, a funny thing happened on the way to the post box.

Harold found a reason to avoid the first post box he came to; then the second; and then the third. He simply could not drop the letter in. He encountered a young girl at a convenience store. Uncharacteristically, he confided in her. She offered him the advice that he must believe in goodness, and anything can happen. It is at that point that Harold decided to walk from his home in Kingsbridge to Berwick-upon-Tweed (a distance of more than 600 miles). He believed that as long as he walks, Queenie would live. He set out immediately for Berwick in his yachting shoes.

Along his pilgrimage, Harold discovered that if he accepts people as they are, they open up to him. He discovered everyone has a story. He received a crash course in humanity and became a media sensation as he trudged along. Harold also worked through his own demons — something he had never had the courage to do before.

As you read about Harold’s epiphany, you will examine your own outlook on life. The message and experiences of Harold will stay with you for a long time to come. CV

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