First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.


When Harold Fry leaves home one morning to post a letter, with 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 along a compass, waterproof or mobile phone.

All he knows is that he must keep walking.

To save someone else’s life.

After five days of work – three if you are in the Philippines – it is finally the weekend! I hope everyone is having a blast this Friday evening to cap a busy week at the office. I hope that you wrapped up the week in high spirits. If it did not go the way you wanted it to, I hope that you will use the weekend to rest, relax, and rejuvenate. You deserve it. But dang, time is in such a hurry. In a couple of weeks, we will be welcoming 2023. A lot has happened in the past few months but, at the same time, it feels that not a lot has happened. Oh well, inflation is crazy as hell. My wish this Christmas is that everything will stabilize, from the skyrocketing prices of commodities to the COVID-19 cases. Moreover, as the year draws to a close, I hope that your prayers were answered. I pray that you get repaid for the hard work you poured in this year. But more importantly, I hope and pray that everyone is doing great, in body, mind, and spirit.

But before I can plunge into the weekend, let me cap the work week with my own version of an end-of-workweek party, a First Impression Friday update. In the previous two updates, I was late in posting an update due to various reasons. This time around, I made sure to post the update on the correct date. Haha. Anyway, in the past week, I completed ticking off works of American literature that are part of my active reading challenge. As such, my focus for November will be on the other books on the said challenges. My 2022 Top 22 Reading List remains the top priority but I am also taking time to complete the other challenges. One of these challenges is my 2022 Beat the Backlist challenge. This is my third (or fourth?) year of doing the challenge. As I have been reiterating these past few years, I am a backlist type of reader, hence, my participation in the annual reading challenge.

One of the books listed on the aforementioned challenge is Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Originally published in 2012, I obtained my copy of the book in late 2018. The only reason I bought the book was my searing curiosity. I had no iota about what the book was about nor have I read any of Joyce’s works before. I was intrigued by the title, fueling my interest in the book. Unfortunately, like most of my books, it had to wait for its turn and gather dust on my bookshelf first. It is kinda funny but most of my books are left to do so. This is also one of the reasons why I always participate in the annual Beat the Backlist challenge.

So this is my first novel by Rachel Joyce who I recently learned was British; I had the mistaken notion she was American and I nearly made the book part of my immersion in American literature. Interestingly, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was her debut novel and it was published when she was approaching her fifties. It is a reminder that it is never too late to pursue things we are passionate about. Anyway, the titular Harold Fry was sixty-five years old when the readers meet him; I thought he was younger. That’s as far as I can share because I haven’t made any significant progress yet into the story. The story commenced when Harold received a letter. Each chapter had that puerile title that summarizes what happens in the chapter: Harold and the Letter, Maureen and the Telephone Call, Harold and the Garage Girl and a Question of Faith, and so on. The way each chapter had such a title reminded me of a bit of the Harry Potter series.

From what I have read so far, Harold Fry comes across as a recluse. This immediately reminded me of another reticent character, Ove in Swedish writer Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove. Will he be the same as his Swedish counterpart? That remains to be seen. Unlike Ove, Harold is not a widower as Maureen is still alive. What I am interested in is the titular pilgrimage that Harold would undertake. More importantly, I want to understand the circumstance that resulted in such drastic action on Harold’s end. I know what the letter contained but I am more interested in the relationship between Harold and the letter sender who was dying of cancer. I still have a lot to go but several questions are already forming in my mind. I hope I get to resolve them as the story moves forward.

I am hoping to finish the book over the weekend. How about you fellow reader? What book or books are you taking with you for the weekend? I hope you get to enjoy them. For now, happy weekend! And as always, happy reading and take care!