Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The Great Alone

Book: The Great Alone

Author: Kristin 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 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.-Goodreads

Review: This is a beautifully written book about a family who moves to Alaska, completely unprepared for the elements.  Ernt is suffering from undiagnosed PTSD and thinks Alaska will be the answer to all his problems. His wife, Cora, is a hippie who is also hoping a chance of scenery will help Ernst and provide some stability in their marriage. Leni is their 13-year-old daughter who goes to Alaska not knowing what to expect. This was beautifully written and I loved learning about life in Alaska with their extreme weather. The last chapter moved this book from ‘epic’ to ‘Hallmark movie’ but overall, this was a great read.

Grade: 4.5/5 

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