Book Review: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

I have read several of Kristen Hannah’s books over the years and her latest, The Great Alone, does not disappoint.  She is not afraid to tackle difficult situations and writes in a away that I feel like I have opened a door into the characters’ lives and am cheering them on to find happiness.

Summary by Goodreads:

34912895Alaska, 1974.
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 it 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.

My Rating:  5 Stars

How do I know this was a good book?  I just couldn’t put it down.  I began reading The Great Alone a few days ago and found that I was constantly picking up my Kindle and wanting to read more.  Every free moment I had, I snuck in a few more pages until today, I sat down and didn’t get up until I finished this story.

This is more than a story about what we give up for those we love.  It is a story about family and a mother and daughter’s love.  It is a story about the effects of PTSD and the dangers of abuse.  It is a story of friendships found in the least likely places and determination to survive even when the world is throwing daggers your way.  This is a story of hope and one I am so grateful to be given an opportunity to read via NetGalley.

I can’t wait to book talk The Great Alone with friends, family, students, and colleagues.


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