The Great Alone

The Great Alone

Book - 2018
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i
iloveseaotters
Jun 22, 2019

I read a preview of "The Great Alone" a while back and it was hard not to want to continue it, but when I started the book for real, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I have to say that I didn't expect it to be SO much better than I anticipated!

I really enjoyed "The Great Alone" and at times couldn't put it down. I actually stopped reading Tom Hanks' "Uncommon Type" (see review on my page) to read this (since it was my turn to check it out from the library) and then went back to the Tom Hanks book a few weeks after. I had to give myself time to let "The Great Alone" absorb before going on to something else.

Wow, where do I begin? Well for starters, I loved Leni from the beginning and the relationship she had with her mother. They were like sisters and I loved that. Her father wasn't a very likeable character (especially in the beginning) but Kristen Hannah has a way of softening even the most abrupt charter to where they become likable.

The journey they took to Alaska was nothing short of amazing and I had visions of a modern day "Little House on the Prairie" as they struggled with the most basic needs like food, money and shelter. Leni was a very strong person and rarely let things get to her.

I loved that it was set in the 1970's and the way Kristin Hannah makes you feel as though you have been transported into that time frame along with the characters. I feel connected to books like this that include popular songs and so forth of the time period and since Kristin is from the Pacific Northwest (as I am) I loved the references to the Seattle and surrounding locations. It definitely brought me closer to the Allbrights.

I appreciated that there was much less swearing in this book than in books of Kristin's that I've read in the past and although some of the descriptions were a bit too graphic for me, they were a necessary part of the storyline.

My heart went out to Leni's mom mainly due to the relationship that she had with her husband. As a war veteran, he had changed quite a bit and it affected Leni and her mom a great deal.
There are some really funny moments as well as a lot of intense moments and some that will make you cry.

I absolutely loved the character of Matthew but I was not prepared for the way his fate changed, nor was I prepared for the shocking twist near the end of the book regarding Leni's father. I am glad that things turned out the way they turned out the way they did. He and Leni were perfect together. And they were very likable characters. I

The townspeople were fun to meet and I loved the way they were straightforward and honest with the Allbrights but they went out of their way to help each other as much as they could as well.

After reading this, I had an urge to go to Alaska. I've been there twice and Kristin wrote the state so beautifully that I could just picture it. I wouldn't want to go in the winter but the way she wrote the transitioning seasons was amazing.

I'm surprised by all of the reviews talking about how "predictable" this book is. There were moments along the way that absolutely floored me and I love when books make me gasp out loud.

I have read every book Kristen has written at least once and this is one that I want to read again. It is now one of my favorite books that she's written. Now I am anxiously awaiting her next book!

s
SR806
Jun 07, 2019

I was drawn in on this novel right from the start. It is hard to read at times due to the violence, but it is captivating. It was hard to put down. Kristin Hannah is good at being so descriptive that I felt like I was there.

This was the first Kristin Hannah book I have read, and I thought it was incredible. Between the depiction of a dysfunctional, almost tortured, family, and the stark, yet isolated beauty of 1970s Alaska, this book has drama that will keep you enthralled til the very last page.

m
mova
May 25, 2019

I loved this book. So much stuff going on, it has stayed with me. Really appreciated the descriptions of what life in Alaska can be like. The drama also was riveting. Highly recommend!!!

e
elewit
May 19, 2019

An engrossing read that lead to some great discussion in our book club. The plot was a bit far-fetched or convenient towards the very end in my opinion, but overall the characters rang true.

j
Jacqua4030
May 13, 2019

Disponible en français à la Bibliothèque de Gatineau.

c
cjl04
Apr 24, 2019

I'm always looking for great books to read, one that I can read during breaks at work or that I can use to take a break from studying. I have a whole collection of books at my apartment but sometimes, I enjoy checking out a new book from the library. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah was a peak pick at the Seattle Public Library when it caught my attention and it is now one of my favorites. You can read my entire review on my blog, The Coffee Addict, at http://thecoffeeaddict.org/2019/03/15/the-great-alone-by-kristin-hannah/

9
9515
Apr 16, 2019

I preferred the depth of this book over the lack of depth in The Nightingale. Learning about the seasonal life in Alaska was interesting.

v
ValinOR14
Apr 11, 2019

This book is a difficult one for me to review. Parts of it were utterly fascinating. Parts of it ripped my heart out. Other parts made me roll my eyes at the sappiness.

Reading about Ernt, a former Viet Nam POW with PTSD was incredibly sad. The man Ernt ultimately became, as opposed to the glimpses of the man he probably was at one time, was horrifying.

I loved reading about Cora. Taking a city girl and placing her in a shack in the Alaska Bush (with no electricity or running water) would have been the end of me! I'm still amazed by how she became a woman who successfully adapted to that way of life. The total dysfunction of her relationship with Ernt was so very difficult to read, however.

Oh, Alaska! I totally fell in love with the descriptions of its beauty. I fell in love with most of the other characters, as well. Especially Large Marge. Tom Walker. Thelma. There was so, so much I loved about Ernt and Cora's daughter, Leni - and Tom's son, Matthew. They were such a wonderful support system for each other when they were in their early teens. But four years later is where the book started losing its strength, in my opinion. This was where Leni and Matthew's relationship started becoming mega-sappy.

Having written all of that, however, the good definitely outweighed the bad.

k
Kebsack
Apr 08, 2019

Wonderful characters. Great story with a great ending. Be prepared to cry!

l
lpingree
Apr 03, 2019

Thanks to one of my wonderful local librarians I read this book and was pulled into the story from the beginning. I confess that I skipped a few chapters just past the middle, (which I now regret) but read the last third and am so glad I did. The writing is powerful, the story deeply affecting. Then my husband picked it up, and finished it in, I think, three days. He loved it, and he's not often a reader. So well written and such an engrossing story.

n
nancyau12
Mar 29, 2019

Excellent! The suspense the author created was palpable! The father was truly a monster

t
tgosche
Mar 26, 2019

Just cannot read a book about a man who repeatedly beats his wife in the presence of his daughter.

f
firefly5
Mar 23, 2019

I just could not get interested in this book. Returned to library.

a
allmyangels6
Mar 09, 2019

I loved this book! Her descriptions of Alaska life are so vivid and the hardships very real. I traveled to Alaska in 2005 and found it to be beautiful, bleak, and rugged. This was a beautiful story from start to finish and I believe it is her best writing to date. A must read.

r
robinwalthery
Feb 12, 2019

Dawn Huntington mentioned reading this one...

e
Einer2
Feb 09, 2019

I loved The Nightingale and was a bit skeptical about this one (former POW who comes home changed and violent) even though it was recommended by a friend that continues to recommend great books. It was one of those reads that I just didn't want to put down-Kristin Hannah is an amazing writer!!

l
LibraryLES
Feb 01, 2019

This story started out very slow for me and I kept putting it down. Once the story finally got going I did enjoy it. The characters were well developed and I enjoyed the descriptions of Alaska as well.

m
MillieBT
Jan 31, 2019

This is a rough book at times......there is domestic violence and it gets ugly...it explores PSTD, death, fear of death, danger, wild animals and first love....there is a growing tension as the Albright family prepares for surviving the winter in Alaska......absorbing, scary and heartbreaking

a
Alma_Anya
Jan 25, 2019

When Ernt Albright, a war veteran suffering from PTSD, makes the decision to move his family from their home in Seattle to a remote homestead in Kaneq, Alaska, they all thought this was the change he so desperately needed to end his nightmares and raging anger. But the beauty of Alaska and the friendliness of the locals can only provide comfort for so long.....until winter arrives.
This story started off quite slow that I contemplated moving on to another book. However, I continued on and realized why building the story was necessary. The characters were bold, the descriptions of Alaskan scenery was stunning and the story itself was powerful. The groundwork for the climax (or inevitability, you could say) was obvious but how and when it happened was Kirstin's masterpiece in this book. Buttttt, having said that, the ending revealed the expected and the unexpected, the latter of which was just a big disappointment.

Hillsboro_ElizabethH Jan 20, 2019

Warning: Spoilers ahead! This book was recommended to me by a friend and teammate. It is not a book I would usually read, but I decided to pick it up when he told me what it was about. Honestly, I couldn't put it down! What an amazing story! You follow Leni Allbright and her family through some turbulent times - her father, Ernt, is a POW from the Vietnam War with PTSD - before it was widely recognized. Her mother, Cora loves Ernt with all her heart, and refuses to leave him, even though he beats her regularly. When Ernt is left a cabin the remote Alaska wilderness by a friend, they pack up their things and head on out. What they find is harder than they ever imagined. From what I've been told, their plight is very true-to-life for many Alaskans living in the backwoods.

I really enjoyed reading about Leni growing up, and how she copes with the cold and isolation. The town they move to, however, is very welcoming and help her family as much as they are able. They really bind together at the end, but I don't want to give too much away.....

k
kutweety
Jan 18, 2019

One of the best books I've read in a long time, couldn't put down. Loved the ending. Will read more from this author.

c
CarleeMcDot
Jan 10, 2019

Like I mentioned, I saw a bunch of my friends mentioning how much they loved her books, so when I went to the library for the first trip of the year I picked up the two titles that kept repeating on everyone's "must read" lists. As you saw, I really enjoyed The Nightingale was was excited to give this one a read. I'll be honest, I didn't like it as much as the first one I read. Maybe the topic of domestic abuse is too jarring for me (I know, you would think that war and the genocide of millions of Jews would be even more horrific, but maybe in my mind war is an 'out there' type of topic whereas domestic violence seems so real and 'up close'). Don't get me wrong, the story was one I bought hook, line and sinker (although I would say it felt slower to me than the first book), but there weren't as many ugly tears with this one. PS Does it make me crazy if living in Alaska, in the Great Alone, would be an adventure I'd totally be interested in doing?! I would give it an 8 out of 10.

TSCPL_Miranda Jan 07, 2019

So, so good. 13-year-old Leni is used to moving around. She's a reader, an unwilling loner, and tough as nails. Since her dad returned from Vietnam, he's been restless and angry, always seeking a fresh start in a new town. Their move to Alaska could be just what he needs--or it could be a huge, dark mistake. I would have been Sam in Leni's Frodo, if we'd met in high school. I cheered for her all the way, and cried at the final twist.

s
SUSIEQ3
Jan 07, 2019

Brilliant, hard to put down, heart-wrenching, soul-depth. One of Kristin Hannah's best.


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