Book Review – Pilgrim’s Progress

Retold by Gary D. Schmidt

Reviewed by Monica Walmsley

Pilgrim’s Progress

In this retelling of the classic masterpiece by John Bunyan, Gary D. Schmidt does an excellent job of engaging the reader. There is an innocence about the characters and the way the story is told that is very satisfying. It is pleasant to read and easy to follow, the story is simple and yet there is great depth and complexity just beneath the surface.

In his introduction Gary D. Schmidt explains, ‘… My retelling is not another edition, nor is it just Pilgrim’s Progress with the language simplified…In this book I have tried to stay close to Bunyan’s original but I have attempted to tell his story to a contemporary audience…’

He goes on to say, ‘…Anyone who retells the story puts himself or herself into the retelling…I have tried to keep the characters as Bunyan imagined them…’ Whether Schmidt has put himself into the retelling I shall leave you to decide, but his characters feel real and the trials they face are real as well.

The story of Pilgrim’s Progress is well known and has been adapted in many ways such as plays, new editions and radio dramatizations. It has been told again and again and still it appeals. The modern retellings have made it easily accessible and the straightforward honesty of the names of both the people and the places make the story easy to understand. Gary D. Schmidt continues this tradition beautifully, alongside rich illustrations by Barry Moser.

Recommended 10+

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