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The Great Alone: A Novel by Kristin Hannah
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The Great Alone: A Novel (edition 2018)

by Kristin Hannah (Author)

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1,3181018,949 (4.13)32
Member:BLKerrick
Title:The Great Alone: A Novel
Authors:Kristin Hannah (Author)
Info:Holtzbrinck Publishers (2018), Edition: First Edition, 448 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:Literary Fiction

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The Great Alone: A Novel by Kristin Hannah

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English (98)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (100)
Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
Ernt Allbright moves his wife, Coraline, and daughter, Lenora to Alaska in order to live off the grid and be ready for any wide spread emergency such as riots and war. However, he was in the air force during the Vietnam War and became a prisoner of war. At his return, he was a changed man with a violent temper and nightmares who could not keep a job although he was a gifted mechanic. The three of them are in over their head in Alaska, but the residents of the Kenai Peninsula help them out. With the advent of the very short winter days, his PSTD returns and he continues to be abusive to his wife. Daughter, Leni, falls in love with Matthew Walker, the son of a man her father hates. Some of this was contrived. The reason given that Cora could not leave her abusive husband was her love for him, which is hard to believe when he beat her repeatedly and both mother and daughter tip toed around him to avoid the catalyst of possible abuse. ( )
  baughga | Mar 9, 2019 |
I was totally intrigued with Hannah's ability to describe---I felt as though I was right there watching everything take place, almost as part of the scene. She is extremely attentive to developing the personalities and emotions of her characters so that they become real. There was not a boring page in the book---almost an odd version of a thriller, with something unexpected always happening. It is a long book and I was glad---I hated to see the end coming. I was so glad to read in her acknowledgments why Hannah seemed to know so much about Alaska but she had very personal as well as family/friend sources. ( )
  nyiper | Mar 7, 2019 |
I found myself, over 140 pages into this book, wondering when it would begin to live up to all the hype it generated in the media. Sadly, it never happened.

Bottom Line: None of the characters ever felt real to me, and I never grew very concerned about what was happening to them. When I found myself wondering over and over again whether or not I had missed the YA label on this one - and went back twice to double check both the book and the internet - I knew it was time to put it away, at least for now.

Too many books, too little time, etc. ( )
  SamSattler | Mar 3, 2019 |
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 |
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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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