If you follow this blog, you know that I review children’s books I find worthwhile (that is to say, worth my time and, hopefully, yours). The books range from board books used by babies for teething to middle grade to young adult books and to adult adult books, if I think they hold appeal for young adults.
I just (as in ten minutes ago with minor intervening family crisis of humorous proportions) finished The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, written by Rachel Joyce and published by Random House in 2013. There are many books fit to be published and some that demand to be published. I think this quiet book politely insisted people needed it.
Harold Fry receives a letter from a former co-worker who is dying. He had never thanked her for her friendship (it takes awhile to find out the specific reason) so he writes a response and walks it to the post . . . but doesn’t drop it in the box. He keeps walking the length of England and into Scotland.
This is one of those books with a deceptively simple plot line that highlights its emotional complexity. I don’t want to say too much about it. Joyce is a master of subtle revelation. I hope it’s enough to say I experienced recognition, hope, deep melancholy, love, yearning, and gifts of wisdoms while reading it.
My husband and I agreed this is a book that will move to the rest home with us some day.
We also discussed how old a reader should be as in “You must be ____ years old to ride . . .er, read this book”.
There are no steamy sex scenes, no acts of violence. There are chases, but they involve walking and a friendly dog who likes rocks.
This blog is usually written for adults to find books for young people (and the child within), but this book is one to consider for yourself. My best guess is that most readers who get hooked will be at least in their 40’s. I don’t expect many young adults would be interested in it.
But there are always outliers.
When you read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, please let us know your ballpark age (the size of the park is entirely up to you), your reaction, and your age recommendation.
Anne Lamont recently tweeted that it was never too late to go to the Grand Canyon. It’s also never too late to make a pilgrimage, if you’re open to new perceptions. And she appears to be having a great time.