“Love and fear. The most destructive forces on earth. Fear had turned her inside out, love had made her stupid.”
― Kristin Hannah,
Published: February 6, 2018
My Copy Came From: Bought this one myself on Audible!
Read Via: Audio Book. Shout out to Julia Whelan. Another amazing narration!
My Like Level: 4 out of 5
Exciting news!! TriStar is adapting The Great Alone!! I cannot wait to see this movie!
Book Synopsis From Amazon:
An instant #1 New York Times bestseller!
“A TOUR DE FORCE.” ―Kirkus (starred review)
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.
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.
This is the third book I’ve read by Kristin Hannah. After writing that, I was struck at the fact that I’ve only read three books by one of my favorite writers! Can I even call her one of my favorites if I haven’t read her entire catalog?? I say yes, because her work is something I can always faithfully turn to when I want to read a fantastic, sweeping, story. If anyone asks for a book with themes of love, history, or family drama, I can without a doubt tell them, pick up a Kristin Hannah book.
Here are the other two I have read and LOVED by her as well:
OK. Now that I’ve rambled on, here is my review:
I actually held off on purchasing Kristin’s latest for a few months after it was released. I let some so/so reviews get the best of my judgment. Some folks had an issue with the domestic violence in the story and some felt that it was a bit long. While I don’t personally enjoy reading about domestic violence myself, sometimes a story needs to “go there” in order to put the reader into the characters shoes. You need to get frustrated that a character like Cora Allbright continues to choose her abusive husband Ernt over a life of safety with her daughter Lenny. You need to feel the anger radiating off of Lenny as she realizes her Mama loves her, but loves her Daddy fiercely through his awful behavior. In order to see the beauty in a story, sometimes you need to be heartbroken like I was reading it. In all honesty, I don’t cry a lot. In general. But this book got me! As I was listening to the last hour or so while on a walk with my son, I had tears streaming down my face. Thank goodness for sunglasses!
You have read the synopsis above so I don’t need to spend any time rehashing the story. What I want to tell you is this book is a beautiful tragedy. As is the case with Kristin’s other books I’ve read, she creates a story that takes the reader many, many years into its characters lives. I absolutely love that. I find that when reading, I really enjoy a long story if I get to see the characters I am investing my time in grow and change throughout their life. In The Great Alone, we get to see Lenny start as a child and grow into a woman. We see her mature and come to startling realizations about life and the people she loves. I was on the edge of my seat reading this book the whole time. Knowing how Kristin writes, you know she will not be sugar coating life and her characters are never safe. I like that about her writing. I don’t want to predict what’s coming and what will happen to the characters. I want to be along on the journey as if I am Lenny or Cora. Never sure where my life is going and if I will be OK.
Buy this book!!
Fun Fact: The novel is named after a Robert Service poem written in 1907 about Alaska. It is called The Shooting of Dan McGrew. Check out the verse below:
Were you ever out in the Great Alone, when the moon was awful clear,And the icy mountains hemmed you in with a silence you most could hear; With only the howl of a timber wolf, and you camped there in the cold, A half-dead thing in a stark, dead world, clean mad for the muck called gold; While high overhead, green, yellow and red, the North Lights swept in bars? –Then you’ve a haunch what the music meant. . . hunger and night and the stars.
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