I checked this book out of my local library after reading about it on various book blogs. I am so glad that I did! On the face of it, the story is about a man walking to visit a dying friend, but the book is about so much more than that. The book speaks to the mundane life, how many, dare I say most people, live life going through the motions, not appreciating the small moments, the small joys in their life. Harold, through walking sees things he never noticed driving along in his car. He meets and talks to people he never would have talked to in his “normal” life. Through his journey he connects with others and they with him, after a lifetime of seeming disconnectedness.
The conclusion is beautifully drawn and brings closure to a wonderful story. Characters, not just Harold, show growth over the course of the story. The major theme of this story is faith, not in the sense of religious faith but just in the sense of belief in something. It also deals with friendship, loyalty, grief, death, and the fear of aging.
Some have criticized this book for moving too slowly, but I feel that is the point, a message, not to be trite, but “slow down and smell the roses”. You need to appreciate each of the small moments, that is what life is made up of, don’t discount them as unimportant. Yes, there are big moments in life, weddings, graduations, funerals, but those are rare occasions. Wonderful book.