299 of 320 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful book,
This review is from: The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Be prepared to confront your personal demons when you read this book. For the mature reader in particular, I challenge you not to find something in this novel to make you at the least uneasy. It is ultimately an uplifting story, but along the way there is a great deal of pain and for many there will be uncomfortable home truths about things that we could have handled better, regrets about slipping into complacency and about the loss of passion. There is the terrible pain caused by the loss of a child; the guilt engendered by failure to appreciate and help a friend; the estrangement of a once-loving couple - and the knowledge that many of these things cannot be put right however much you want to.
Harold's walk is the vehicle for exploring these ideas and more. A very ordinary and unassuming man, not in any sense a hero, Harold's whim to walk to Berwick on Tweed to see a dying friend and by so doing to save her from cancer, provides the author with the opportunity to weave in the stories of many other people who, in the words of Henry David Thoreau, are living "lives of quiet desperation". The people he meets on his journey are often kind and generous but many are battling their own demons. At one point the simple pilgrimage that Harold has unwittingly created clashes with our modern world of celebrity - represented by the PR men and tabloid journalists - and you pray for Harold to escape all this and revert to his simple goal.
In the end Harold and his wife Maureen - a somewhat stereotypical middle-aged woman with net curtains and a clipped way of speaking that discourages anything unconventional - do find resolution and redemption. To say more would spoil the story. Do read it - it will make you laugh and cry but it will not leave you untouched.
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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 Dec 2011 15:45:02 GMT
Mrs. Katharine Kirby says:
What a lovely review. You have said everything. I agree about the way it will stay with us. Am tempted to put out a recommendation on the vine forum, it is so special and unusual , I'd love more people to try it. A great book to read over Christmas (got me over a turkey of a choice from the list this month)...
In reply to an earlier post on 31 Dec 2011 15:58:12 GMT
Hello Katharine thanks for your comment and glad you approved - I loved your review too! This book is going to haunt me for a very long time- I lost my own son who drowned ten years ago when he was 22 and had a lot of troubled times before that so I really do feel this book in a visceral sense. I agree we need to get this out there!
In reply to an earlier post on 31 Dec 2011 16:12:59 GMT
Mrs. Katharine Kirby says:
Oh Maggie. Do get in touch through my email on the profile if you feel like chatting further. We are a fishing family and have close experience of the kind of loss you describe. I had no idea that David was not just selfishly ignoring his parents and living his own life. I got the hint that he may not have graduated, what a poignant passage that was when Harold and Maureen were left standing rooted to the spot they had been directed to by David, sadly and perhaps manipulated into missing the whole ceremony...
In reply to an earlier post on 8 Jul 2012 17:00:52 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 8 Jul 2012 17:05:31 BDT]
Posted on 31 Aug 2012 23:02:09 BDT
Beautiful review. I'm 35 and already I felt my own demons coming to the surface as I read this book. I saw myself and others around me in these characters. I finished reading it a couple of days ago and I can't stop thinking about it. I never liked stories with people living in big mansions, big jobs, big cars...I like books with characters that feel real. All this felt real. Too real. I actually felt emotional exhausted after I finished the book but if an author can make you feel so much, then it's a good thing. I'm going to have a hard time finding something decent to read next...
Posted on 15 Jan 2013 16:34:35 GMT
P. L. Wilson says:
In reply to an earlier post on 2 Feb 2013 00:56:39 GMT
Mr. S. Baeza says:
I know that people are entitled to their opinions, but P.L. Wilson...you are an idiot!!
Posted on 24 Mar 2013 19:48:36 GMT
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Mar 2013 08:39:02 GMT
By all means leave a negative comment but at least try to be more original (see P L Wilson 15 Jan!).
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Mar 2013 22:39:25 GMT
I don't know what he said. But I'm glad my view is shared.