Harold Fry retired recently and it’s not as great as you’d think. He and his wife Maureen don’t get along. They don’t fight, really, but they seem to ignore each other more often than not…well, when she’s not nagging. One day, though, he gets a letter from Queenie, a woman he used to work with. She’s in hospice, dying of cancer. Harold writes back and plans to walk to a mailbox to deliver it—and then doesn’t stop.
Harold decides that he’s going to walk to see Queenie. He calls the hospice and tells a nurse there that to tell Queenie that he’s coming and she has to stay alive until he gets there.
But here’s the thing: it’s 500 miles away.
Oh, wow, this book. One of the things that can be counted on to make me cry is unexpected kindness, and this book is full of that.
As Harold’s journey (or quest, really) continues, he meets so many people. Most of them are good and a few are…well, less good. All are human and flawed.
If you believe, as I do, that people are generally good, this book will completely reinforce that. And if you believe, as I try to, that we are all capable of extraordinary things, this book reinforces that, too.
The relationship between Harold and his wife, Maureen, is not a good one but as he walks and walks, they each begin to remember what drew them together in the first place. Reporters learn about the walk and paint it as a love story between Harold and Queenie. This book is a love story, but the love is between Harold and Maureen. It’s love regained, but not for the people you’d initially think, reading the synopsis.
Harold isn’t a saint and I would imagine that it’s hard to be married to him (or to Maureen, if we’re being honest). But honestly, how can you not love someone who would make a promise like this? Someone who would walk 500 miles to see you and all you have to do in return is not die? (Although I read the book so, so afraid that Queenie would die before he reached her, because hospice means time is limited. I won’t say whether my fears were realized or not—but I will say that the ending is incredible.)
This is an amazing, wonderful book. Highly recommended.