Sunday, 19 April 2015

A World Book Night Special: Rachel Joyce's 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' (*****)

Happy Sunday, readers! Today I have another World Book Night special for you, this time a review of one of the featured titles on the World Book Night list 2015. Following World Book Night 2014, national charity The Reading Agency which runs the programme, conducted a survey of World Book Night volunteers who had the chance to suggest the title they would most like to give away as part of the programme. Rachel Joyce’s bestselling The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry has been selected from the volunteers’ picks to be a title for 2015, in recognition of the inspiring work of the World Book Night volunteers who champion reading for pleasure through social action in their communities.

Intrigued? Here is the blurb...

When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else’s life.

I read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry last week and thoroughly enjoyed it- I was struck by the protagonist, Harold Fry, and the strength and determination he showed throughout the book. He is such an inspirational and unique character, and throughout the book you really feel as if you get to know him; his strengths, his failures, his wishes, his downfalls. The special thing about Harold is that he is not perfect, he is utterly human. As you read you learn that he is not on the 'pilgrimage' for any other reason but to fix the mistakes of his past and to rediscover his sense of self. Rachel Joyce writes beautifully and does not reveal everything in the first chapter, but scatters in the truth sparingly, so the reader is discovering things about Harold and his life as Harold reflects on his past mistakes, and sets about trying to fix them.

The whole book is one big adventure. It pulls the reader in and doesn't let them go until the very last page. It is a roller coaster of emotions, and although it is a highly emotional read, you feel satisfied and happy at the end. Throughout the book you can't keep but wonder how you would manage on such a journey, and how far you would go to save someone else, and yourself, before it is too late. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, more than anything, is a story about love, how one manages it, and everything that gets in the way. It questions how much one can sacrifice for love, and the difficulty of sometimes expressing it.

Overall, I loved the journey that this book brought me on. However young, or old, you are, wherever you live or whatever you do, this book speaks to you. It appeals to the most objective element of our humanity, and renders you speechless when it is over. 

Check out Rachel Joyce here: http://www.rachel-joyce.co.uk

Check out World Book Night here: http://www.worldbooknight.org

Buy The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Unlikely-Pilgrimage-Harold-Fry/dp/0552778095

Until next time :)