The Great Alone

The Great Alone

by Kristin Hannah

Overview: Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources. But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska—a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.

Debbie Weiss (06/11/18): While I enjoyed reading this book, I wouldn't call it fabulous like Martha did. The story's main character, Leni, was adjusting to her new life in Alaska. She has a difficult life because of her father's mood swings (PTSD?) and his super-paranoid outlook on life. There is domestic abuse; there are accidental deaths; there are tragic accidents; there are the harsh Alaskan winters. I kept getting bogged  down with the dark moods and despondent outcomes.

Maybe the problem for me is that I absolutley loved Kristin Hannah's book The Nightingale and this book just doesn't even come close, in my opinion.
Rating: ***+

Martha Lawton (Marjay's Reading Blog (02/11/18): The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah is a story about a family and love and a story about fear and pain. The book brings you down to the lowest depths and then up into the heights. Leni, the main character is brought up to Alaska as a teen. She knows that her father is damaged and her mother always tries to keep things moving to a safe place. Moving to Alaska without enough money, food and knowledge was a dangerous choice. However, Leni begins to flower with the land and people. Her father continues his slow descent into hell and her mother continues to try to keep everything together. Leni meets Matthew and realizes that for the first time she has a friend, a home, an opportunities, but life is not a smooth path. Things happen as the seasons change, yet Leni continues on the rocky path with her family.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah is a fabulous book. You know a book is fabulous when your emotions are so tied to the characters that you breath when they breath. A book is a fabulous book when you are so entranced with a book, but you are almost afraid to complete the book, because you are so worried about what will happen next. I loved reading this story with all the ups and downs. I cried and laughed and smiled and shivered in the cold.

There are always books that leave you speechless. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah was one of those books for me!
Rating: *****

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