Rachel Joyce has written over 20 original afternoon plays for BBC Radio 4, and major adaptations for both the Classic Series, Woman's Hour and also a TV drama adaptation for BBC 2. In 2007 she won the Tinniswood Award for best radio play. She moved to writing after a twenty-year career in theatre and television, performing leading roles for the RSC, the Royal National Theatre, The Royal Court, and Cheek by Jowl, winning a Time Out Best Actress award and the Sony Silver.
I totally loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Rachel Joyce impressed me with her ability to place normal people with their quirks in a book and make them likable. When I saw this book I was very curious how she would work out a young boy.
The first 50 pages of the book were a bit confusing. A lot is happening and Byron is a very confused and kind of depressing kid. There are two stories told, the one of Byron and one of Jim. I was not sure who Jim was and what his role would be. The only thing clear was that he was living in the now in the same town Byron grew up in and where the accident happened. I was very curious how these two stories would touch.
I felt sorry for Byron most of the book. He felt very responsible for both his mother and sister and blames himself when things go wrong. Jim was easy to love. With his past and the way he needs everything to be right I wanted to help him so bad all the time and felt sorry when things went wrong and he could not help it at all. His confusion and his need to control things were so clear.
I did have a hard time with the idea that no one noticed the way things were going wrong with Diana and her family. Even the dad who was still visiting should have seen something.
I loved the end, the way things developed and both Byron's and Jim's lives touched. Though I kept asking myself what their lives had to do with one another I could have never guessed the outcome.
Author: Rachel Joyce
Publisher: Random House
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