I will probably give this book my "Best Book I've Read This Year" award (if not the best book I've read in 5 years). The theme is not so original these days: an abusive husband, a battered wife and a terrified daughter.
However, the author weaves their stories together: what binds them together and what drives them apart. What the meaning of family is. How family, while binding us together and making us whole, still leaves a part of us untouched and fundamentally alone. The terrible choices that must sometimes be made at inconceivable cost.
I had tears in my eyes at the end of the book, and I cannot remember the last time that happened to me. And the book keeps coming back to me during odd moments of my day, which is also very uncommon for me. I read all 438 pages in one night even tho I knew I would felt like dirt the next day!
This isn't an easy read, but it's worth sticking out til the end. Dated around 1974. An ex-POW from Vietnam returns to his wife and young daughter. Suffering from what we know now as PTSD. Unable to hold a job, the family is notified that a former friend from Nam has died and left them property in Alaska. The family moves and finds an abandoned cabin in the frontier of Alaska. There they find a hard life barely surviving at times but with rewards. However, with it comes the long dark winter months which sparks nightmares and violent outbursts. Themes of domestic violence. Loss, remorse, survival, loss of innocence, and redemptive love.
I had seen so many people writing raving reviews about this book that I finally said, "I have to read this book!" And now that I have read it, I have to chime in that this is one of the best books that I have read this year. It is so incredibly well written and intense, pulling you forward in the story and making it impossible to put it down. It takes place in Alaska and revolves around a family who moves there when they inherit a house from the dad's war buddy. Ernt Allbright, the dad, is a former Vietnam POW who has terrible dark episodes caused by his war days. Cora, the mom, remembers him before he left for the war and keeps staying with him despite his physical abuse towards her. Their teenage daughter, Leni, is caught between the two and brought to live in this remote location with its unforgiving nature. This is a complex story covering many facets of life: growing up, rural towns, surviving difficult situations, the endurance of love, and mental and physical problems. This is one of those stories that will stay with you for a long time. If you only read one book this year, this is the one to read.
Another amazing story by Kristin Hannah,who I got to meet last week! This book was very hard emotionally to get through. The story of a former Viet Nam POW, and his wife and daughter who live their lives by trying to cope with his violent mood swings and hatred of the government by escaping to a remote area of Alaska. Wonderful descriptions of the living conditions with no power,water and the fear of attacks by wild animals and being where nobody can hear or rescue you. The love of a mother and daughter finally overcomes the love for a husband and wife when there is no other choice left.
Wonderful coming of age story of a young girl being brought up in the Alaskan wilderness. You will laugh and cry and experience every emotion in between.
This goes on my list as one of the best books I've read!
Leni is a wonderful, strong character I adored, Cora, her weak mother and Ernt, her violent father suffering from PTSD after returning from Vietnam. He decides to move his family to Alaska in 1972 and pioneer in a shack his best friend left him after he was killed.
This is not an easy book to read but I was so engrossed, I couldn't put it down even when my eyes strained to focus in the wee hours of the night. It was a monumental story with a powerful ending and I haven't stopped thinking about it since.
I was not sure what the book was about when I started reading. The story drew me in. It was a great read, frustrating at times to read. It was well written with no loose ends or unanswered questions.
Kristin Hannah never fails to satisfy. This is an emotional story of heartache, love and survival. Ernt Allbright is never the same after returning from Vietnam. Hoping to make a new start he moves his wife, Cora, and daughter, Leni, to Alaska. But, there are some demons you can never run from. As Ernt's mental state deteriorates into anger and paranoia, Leni and Cora are struggling to survive. While the climate is harsh and living conditions are primitive, Alaska comes to be the home Leni had longed for all her life.
The setup and the beginning of The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah is intense in the characters, the setting, the situation, and the emotion. It has a sympathetic main character to care about. The events seem frighteningly real. However, as the book proceeds, it seems like a race to incorporate every bad thing that can happen into this one story. Let's just say that it goes too far and undermines the "reality" of the powerful setup of the book.
Read my complete review at http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2018/05/the-great-alone.html
Reviewed for NetGalley
Full of adventure, tragedy, heartbreak, coming of age situations, community together-ness, domestic abuse, lessons in life and of course The Great Alone.
This is a 5 star book. Kristin Hannah is a fantastic writer. I will remember this book for a long time to come. It gave me some things to think about in real life situations. My fav read so far of 2018
Love, love, love! I love Kristin Hannah! I love "The Great Alone"! I love Leni, the main character. I love the engrossing tale of a young girl who feels like an outcast (because of moving so often)that falls in love with Alaska and a boy, while dealing with the horrors of an abusive father with PTSD. I love the supporting characters as well and how they befriended her. Highly recommend!
A bit of a combination of the reality tv shows 'Alaska the Last Frontier' and 'Edge of Alaska'--hate to say that, but that's how it felt to me. A lot of melodrama, situations, but I didn't feel any substance. I did like the character Large Marge. The ending was beyond schmaltzy, and absolutely predictable.