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The Great Alone: A Novel by Kristin Hannah
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The Great Alone: A Novel (edition 2019)

by Kristin Hannah (Author)

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3,1722113,281 (4.07)80
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)
Member:Kcall101
Title:The Great Alone: A Novel
Authors:Kristin Hannah (Author)
Info:St. Martin's Griffin (2019), Edition: Reprint, 576 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

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» See also 80 mentions

English (206)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (211)
Showing 1-5 of 206 (next | show all)
I have to start my review off by mentioning I’m slightly obsessing over author Kristin Hannah’s books now after this one and I plan on reading more. After reading The Four Winds last year I quickly ordered The Great Alone. It has taken me several months to get to this one but I was up past midnight this weekend reading I was so hooked.

At the center of the story is 13 year old Leni Allbright and her parents Ernt and Cora. Ernt is a Vietnam POW. This family of three is dysfunctional to begin with and Ernt is an alcoholic and abusive towards his wife and he now suffers from PTSD. When his late war buddy leaves him a house in remote Alaska, Ernt packs the family up to live off the grid. Ernt promises that the Alaskan setting will help him be better. This almost reminded me of The Shining.
Once in Alaska, the Allbright’s meet the locals and settle into life off the grid and harsh climate living.

The first 200 pages or so were riveting, I loved reading about the Alaskan landscape and was curious to see where the story would go once the Allbright’s settled into their cabin in the middle of nowhere. I find that this author is great with writing the settings in her stories and The Great Alone was no different. Then the story started to drag a little but I saw that the author was setting things up for the latter half of the book which picked right back up again.

I liked Leni’s character alot. This was a coming of age story for her. I liked seeing her realize how toxic her parents are and that that she decided to take a different path. This is also a story about mothers and daughters and the bonds between women. The book took many twists and turns and I was stunned, I teared up, I was on the edge of my seat while reading. This would make a great mini-series.

I’ve already ordered The Nightingale because this author has a way of pulling at my emotions with her stories. What grabbed my attention most about this book was Leni and the bond she had with her mother.

https://bookwormnai.wordpress.com/2022/01/26/the-great-alone-by-kristin-hannah/ ( )
  bookworm_naida | Jan 26, 2022 |
Couldn't put down! Great Characters and Plot! LOVED!!! ( )
  ZoeMichelle | Jan 2, 2022 |
So good. Loved every minute of it. I've always been a fan of Alaska and this book made me fall in love with it again. The detailed descriptions of the beauty. The heartache. The love story. It was a wonderful journey! ( )
1 vote bdonner | Dec 8, 2021 |
Okay, it was not... horrendously bad. I wasn't hooked immediately but at some point I realized that I was really curious about what's gonna happen next and also what kind of story it's eventually going to be. A YA / coming of age story? Something about finding your true self in a wild land? Something about surviving against all odds? Something thriller-like about abusive fathers and/or crazy people preparing for the nuclear war?
I mean, there was so much thrown into it, I didn't know what to choose.

But, as it turned out, mostly it was a MELODRAMA type of story. As another reviewer already has said, 'endless awful and ENTIRELY PREVENTABLE things happen'. Endless.
All your soap opera cliches: car accidents, unplanned pregnancies, comas (!!!), brain damages and reunions of long-lost relatives are here. All of them. And it's not even an exhaustive list.
Those poor characters just couldn't catch a break. When almost at the end Leni got arrested (!!!) because she willingly stupidly confessed (!!!) to a crime she was hiding for years (!!!) I screamed OH MY GOD aloud out of pure frustration.

Still, a 3-star rating because no, I didn't want to skip it and leave it unfinished and also the audiobook went kinda nice with my long walks in desolate places in these weird times of pandemic.
( )
  alissee | Dec 8, 2021 |
Page-turner set mostly in Alaska's Kenai Peninsula, late-1970's, a world likely gone forever due to climate change and tourism. The setting is beautifully rendered, as is the story of a family in crisis: the father, damaged from PTSD as a Vietnam war POW in an era when it was not even recognized, let alone treated; the Stockholm-syndrome afflicted mother enduring her husband's abuse, all the while loving him and Leni, the young teen-aged daughter she protects fiercely. Disturbing threads are woven into the story that are easily recognizable in today's polarized, political landscape. The portrait of Alaska, it's land and people, is poignant and beautiful. ( )
1 vote Octavia78 | Nov 28, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 206 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hannah, Kristinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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.

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Here's my metaphorical review of this book. A plane takes off from Seattle. It flies to Alaska, and despite a lot of turbulence, it climbs - though a small plane - higher than Denali. Then for 500 pages or so it goes into a nose dive in which things go from bad to worse to worst (rinse and repeat). As the plane is inches away from a nose in smash-up, a gust of wind pulls it out of the dive onto a perfect three point landing on a gravelly bak beside a river bed. I hated the darkness, cried at the end, and couldn't put bit down throughout. 

Here are my memorables: 
"You know what they say about finding a man in Alaska – the odds are good, but the goods are odd." (46)

"What's it really like?" . . . . "What?" "Winter. . . ." "Terribe and beautiful. It's how you know if you're cut out to be an Alaskan. Most go running back to the Outside before it's over." [114]

"Leni saw suddenly how hope could break you, how it was a shiny lure for the unwary. What happened to you if you hoped too hard for the best and got the worst?" [150]

"It was one of those moments – an instant of grace in a crazy, sometimes impossibly dangerous world – that changed a man's life." 

"We came to Alaska to run away from he world. Like so many cheechakos before and since, we planned poorly. . . . Someone said to me once that Alaska didn't;t create character; it revealed it.
(544) 

This state, this place, is like no other, It is beauty and horror; savior and destroyer. Here, where survival is a choice that must be made over and over, in the wildest place in America, on the edge of civilization, where water in all its for can kill you, you learn who you are. Not who you dream of being, not who you imagined you were, not who you were raised to be. All of that will be torn away in the months of icy darkness, when frost on the windows blurs your view and the world gets very small and you stumble into the truth of your existence. You learn what you will do to survive." That lesson, that revelation, is Alaska's great and terrible gift.. . . There is no middle ground, no safe place,; not here, in the great alone.  (544-545)
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