Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah


Alaska, 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 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. 

Review by Heather Mc:

The Great Alone is not the typical genre I would read, however, the synopsis drew me in and as I began to read it drew me in more and more hook line and sinker.  I was to enthralled in the beginning I couldn’t put it down.  

Ernt Albright needs an escape from his demons, he is haunted and he needs to find peace.  Cora is Ernt’s wife and she will do anything for her husband, including blindly following him to the ends of the earth to allow him to find the peace he needs after his return from War.  Ernt, Cora and Leni, their daughter move to the wilderness of Alaska and start their new life.  They have to learn to live off of the land and prepare for the long winters.   They must know how to protect themselves from the wildlife that surrounds them.  

Leni makes friends in the town and Cora is trying to keep their family together while Ernt alienates everyone.  When winter hits the book changes and where there was some hope and some bad times as it goes on the bad times just keep on coming.

People read books for many reasons and I don’t need a book to be all hearts and flowers and feel good but there is a very, very fine line of sadness and utter despair and when you read and keep on reading and there just is NOTHING that gives some light to the people you have become so invested in it becomes very hard to keep reading for me.  What I will say is that the book was amazing in the fact that it was so real.  You felt the trials and tribulations as they did.  You felt for Ernt, but you really felt for Cora and Leni and you felt their love for Ernt but also their despair, you felt their devotion to Ernt.

I can say you will need some tissues, I am not a crier and I cried, you cannot really read this and not have some strong emotions.  4 stars.   I was given an advanced copy for my honest review. 

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