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The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
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The Great Alone

by Kristin Hannah

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1,310958,971 (4.12)31
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» See also 31 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
I listened to the Great Alone and was pulled in completely. I did get exasperated at the bad decision after bad decision after bad decision. Leni completely loves her mother and her mother loves her, but I also found Cora to be selfish. I also understand the time period because I am only a bit young than Leni, so I grew up in the time when women were considered almost property of their husbands and fathers. I know that Cora felt trapped, especially in the great alone of Alaska. They are both a combination of so strong and so weak, but doesn't that reflect the human condition? Cora shows strength in her ability to take abuse from her husband but weakness in her love for this man and inability to believe she can survive alone raising a child. Leni is survival strong but weak in being smart with decisions. Of course, that's easy for me to say because I'm listening instead of living with an abusive father.

It's 1974 and Leni and Cora move to Alaska. Leni's father, Ernt, was a POW and has PTSD, as we now know. Living in a place that is dark most of the year is bad for someone with nightmares trailing him. The great outdoors is great for him in the summer. They can leave the noise of civilization and be independent. Of course, they are totally unprepared. Their cabin, left to them by a dead soldier from Vietnam, is a wreak. They must prepare for winter, but they have no money. Ernt is also paranoid, which is good and bad. He insists they can live off the land, be able to shoot, and be able to kill/catch food; but, the paranoia drives a wedge between them and civilization. This is a place where people must depend on each other.

Relationships and Alaska frame the novel. The harsh land is brutal where the second mistake can kill you. In a land like this, relationships can keep you alive and give you reason to live. The Walkers have been settled this area, but Ernt sees the Walkers as representing all he is running from. He's jealous of their success although he can't consciously admit this truth. The relationship between these families, the harsh land, and Ernt's illusions pushes the plot to the heart wrenching choices that must be made.

I listened to this novel and the narrator was outstanding. Pulling the earplugs to sleep or go to work or do anything that needed to be done was a challenge. ( )
  acargile | Feb 17, 2019 |
Kind of a coming-of-age novel that develops into a romance. ( )
  dickmanikowski | Feb 14, 2019 |
I had waited for months on the reserve list to read this book. At first, I was so disappointed. I waited all this time for this, I asked myself. However, I kept reading and I am so glad I did. I'm giving it 5 stars. This book, along with telling a great story, gives insight to the ruggedness of Alaska. It also deals with how women had to endure cruelties from their husbands without the law protecting them in the 70's, ( )
  travelgal | Feb 9, 2019 |
The Great Alone is a chilling, emotionally wrenching roller coaster ride. Kristin Hannah has created characters that are believable and realistically populate this story of a couple and their child caught between a parent she loves and cannot abandon and a parent who claims to love her.

When Ernt Allbright and Coraline marry, they are madly and happily in love. Along comes Vietnam and Ernt gets drafted. After fighting, being captured and remaining a POW of 6 years, Ernt comes back a changed man. Ernt can't hold down a job, he is drinking and becoming violent. Morale is at an all-time low and gas prices are at an all time high. The world is in crisis. Bombings, hijacked planes, and now college girls in Washington State have been disappearing. Danger is everywhere. Ernt, Cora and their daughter Leni finally make the move to Alaska where there is freedom in the last frontier, to start a new life. Alaska is a tough place to live and as they struggle to survive, the dark creeps into Ernt and he becomes a man suffering from PTSD and takes it out on his wife. Meanwhile Leni has finally found a place where she feels like she belongs and her first true friend.

I loved this book. An entertaining and emotional read with an engrossing plot and well-developed characters. With some very heavy duty issues covered in this book, keep a box of tissues close by. The say Kristin Hannah described Alaska in all its brilliance and desolation, I could almost like I was there. It was easy to see why Leni felt lost when she was not in Alaska. Leni is an extremely strong young woman. In the midst of becoming a person capable of surviving her family, Alaska, hard choices, and the tragedies that rock her world, Leni discovers the true families that love her. Of course the issue of PTSD and how it was dealt with back in the 70s was terrible to read about. Yet, the compassion, loyalty, friendships, camraderie that develops between the residents of Kaneq Alaska were amazing and loving. After reading many amazing reviews I was worried that this story could not live up to the hype. “The Great Alone” does not disappoint. This was another fascinating, thought-provoking, and captivating read. Heartbreaking at times, but also with moments of great love and unbelievable kindness. A gripping story where I was desperate to know what was going to happen next. A bittersweet but satisfying ending topped off this amazing read. I finished this book a few days ago, but am still thinking about the characters and the setting. I can't say that about all the books that I read. I want to thank St. Martin's Press for generously providing me with a copy of this book to read. The opinions shared are my own.
( )
  Carlathelibrarian | Feb 5, 2019 |
Kristin Hannah has a way of picking up a topic that affects us - in this case someone with PTSD from the Vietnam war and weaves a story around him. Always loosing his job and drinking, he inherits a piece of land in Alaska and moves his wife and daughter to what he believes will be a new start. And it is. But the demons return. His abusive relationship with a wife who loves him dearly, his drinking and his associations with a group of people he believes to be survivalists turns deadly. A quick read. Sad topic. Nice ending. ( )
  joannemonck | Jan 27, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 95 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kristin Hannahprimary authorall editionscalculated
Whelan, JuliaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Nature never deceives us; it is always we who deceive ourselves.
---JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU
Dedication
To the women in my family. All of them are warriors. Sharon, Debbie, Laura, Julie, Mackenzie, Sara, Kaylee, Toni, Jacquie, Dana, Leslie, Katie, Joan, Jerrie, Liz, Courtney, and Stephanie.

And to Braden, our newest adventurer.
First words
That spring, rain fell in great sweeping gusts that rattled the rooftops.
Quotations
"Alaska herself can be Sleeping Beauty one minute and a bitch with a sawed-off shotgun the next. There's a saying: Up here you can make one mistake. The second one will kill you."
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Lenora Allbright is 13 when her father convinces her mother, Cora, to forgo their inauspicious existence in Seattle and move to Kaneq, AK. It's 1974, and the former Vietnam POW sees a better future away from the noise and nightmares that plague him. Having been left a homestead by a buddy who died in the war, Ernt is secure in his beliefs, but never was a family less prepared for the reality of Alaska, the long, cold winters and isolation. Locals want to help out, especially classmate Matthew Walker, who likes everything about Leni. Yet the harsh conditions bring out the worst in Ernt, whose paranoia takes over their lives and exacerbates what Leni sees as the toxic relationship between her parents. The Allbrights are as green as greenhorns can be, and even first love must endure unimaginable hardship and tragedy as the wilderness tries to claim more victims.… (more)

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