The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
by Rachel Joyce
Harold Fry took my breath away
A bookish observation
A life lived in fear, is a life half lived!
Vivir con miedo es como vivir en medias!
A Spanish Proverb
I’m reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Firstly I’d like to say the story is wonderful. After making such a statement I know I should explain why. I’m not sure that I can but I’ll try.
This morning I was listening to the story, I’m up to chapter six or seven, something beautiful was described. The moment had passed before I decided to write about it and now I can’t remember exactly what made me catch my breath.
I wish I could recall the moment, I wish I could recall the words, the words that took my breath away. The thing is, it happened and it’s left me with a feeling of wonder. How wonderful some stories can be and how lucky is the reader who reaches that sublime moment. A book is such a silent thing until it’s opened. Within its covers are treasures.
The passage I read may have been about Harold’s reflection on the past, I’d have to re-read the section to recall it. Maybe it was his visual experience of the English countryside as he walked past his original destination, the post box near his house, headed for his new unexpected destination 500 miles north of the post box.
Harold is on a pilgrimage, not a religious one, he’s just going and he’s not too sure why, but he knows he must walk all the way. I think he’s paying penance for something that happened many years ago. He’s on his way to see a dying friend. A friend he never told how much her friendship meant to him. No, not a romantic love, he loves her as a friend, a very very good friend, a friendship he never acknowledged. Friendship is such a powerful relationship and so very rare beyond the boundaries of family. His friend is dying and he wants her to know he values her.
Harold is a gentle Englishman. He has stifled his emotions all his life and he is unable to communicate with the people he loves nor anyone else. He’s monosyllabic like so many men (personal opinion only). A man who has kept himself in mediocrity through fear, fear of life.
The story is absolutely wonderful. It would appeal to people who love a journey to self discovery through walking, putting one foot in front of the other.
I haven’t finished it yet. I’m writing down my thoughts now because I find once I’ve finished a book I move very quickly on to the next one. The immediacy of my impression get’s lost. So today I decided to write down my experience of something that took my breath away.