The Great Alone: A Novel <— WHOA. OMG this book is amazing!! This just may end up being my favorite book of 2019… I think I highlighted the whole thing 😉
Simply stunning in its beauty and its darkness. The harsh Alaskan winters and way of life to survive them, and that of unconditional love… no matter how amazing or how horrible that love may be. Facts of real life. No matter how ugly.
I absolutely loved it from start to finish (even the whole build up and shock of moving to Alaska – I was riveted!!!!).
“You make it sound dangerous,” Mama said uneasily.
“Two kinds of folks come up to Alaska, Cora. People running to something and people running away from something. The second kind—you want to keep your eye out for them. And it isn’t just the people you need to watch out for, either. 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.”
Hooked on not only the story that was being told, but the characters living this life, and me, wholeheartedly living it through them. WITH them.
Maryse: BLURB JOLT!! OMG YES!!!! Her father is experiencing PTSD and decides to move the family to Alaska and live off the grid…
Val: This is an absolute must read. It’s tough but worth it.
Maryse: I one-clicked it and I’m starting it tonight!!! YAY ME!!! Thank you Val!
Lucy: The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah. I loved the Nightingale so I jumped on this one, I was not disappointed. A family homesteading in Alaska, the family relationships, young love and tragedy. It will stay with me for a long time.
Nay: OMG, ya’ll! I just finished The Great Alone, rated NSFL–not safe for Leslie 😉 But, WOW, what a beautifully tragic, incredible book! I think I experienced every feeling from one end of the spectrum to the other, and each in such a strong way.
It took a bit to get moving, but that part wasn’t bad or anything, just not as eventful. However, once it took off, it never let up. I almost had to stop reading because of the way it rocked my emotions during a couple of chapters–and that’s saying something for me. But I’m SO glad I didn’t put it down.
I listened to the audiobook, and Julia Whelan did such a phenomenal job with all the different characters, male and female. And she put her whole heart into it. It was simply amazing! All of you who have it on your tbr need to move it up!
Jessica: I just finished this one. She has quickly become my new favorite author.
Maria: This book is amazing!!
Nay: No question about it, my favorite book for March (and another that will be on my favorites list this year) was The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. Gah! What a powerful book! And I think listening to the audio book made it even better.
OMG. IS. IT. EVER!!!!
And at times, this love story (love of home and community, family, friends, and of course, romantic love… touching and had me grinning with hope and delight. Wonderful moments of triumph)… this love story got DARK.
They were at it again.
Arguing. Shouting. Soon there would be crying.
Weather like this brought out the darkness in her father.
I mean trigger-worthy dark. Terrified, feeling trapped, claustrophobic, and imprisoned. Not just by the unforgiving Alaskan climate and winters (and trust me, that part of the story alone is exhilarating and alarming)…
Leni noticed that she was ankle-deep in shadow. The darkness seemed to be rising rather than the sun falling. As if darkness were the natural order around here.
…but even more so, imprisoned by a very deeply damaged man. Her father.
Maryse: I’m reading “The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah and it’s amazing.
But UGHHHHH her father just drives me to fury!!!!
The one that was supposed to protect them, love them and keep them safe, turned out to be their ultimate nightmare.
Leni was afraid to stay and afraid to leave. It was strange—stupid, even—but she often felt like the only adult in her family, as if she were the ballast that kept the creaky Allbright boat on an even keel.
I was DESPERATE to escape. I was hyperventilating. And I was so sure, as badly as hell was breaking loose, that it would get even worse.
And it did.
That blurb doesn’t even come close to the depth of this story (well now that I know the story and re-read the blurb, it’s so much more intense for me).
In a wild, remote corner of Alaska, the Allbrights 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 newcomers’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.
But as winter approaches and darkness descends, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates. 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.
I mistakenly took “eighteen hours” as one night of poop hitting the fan in some way. Yes… but no. The author meant 18 hours of night. EVERY NIGHT in the Alaskan winter.
Oh sheeeeesh. I knew he was going off the deep end, but holy moly. I was caught like a deer in the headlights.
So what’s it about?
A seemingly happy family of three (parents, deeply in love and and their teenage daughter in awe of them both) are struggling to make ends meet, after he’s come back from the war. A bright light seems to shine upon them when they are willed a piece of land (and a cabin) in a sparsely populated area in Alaska. A real home!
“Think of it,” Dad said, lifted out of his seat by enthusiasm. “A house that’s ours. That we own. In a place where we can be self-sufficient, grow our vegetables, hunt our meat, and be free. We’ve dreamed of it for years, Cora. Living a simpler life away from all the bullshit down here. We could be free. Think of it.”
Desperate to escape the current political climate they jump at the chance to start their lives over somewhere remote where they can live off the land, off the grid, as they want. Just them. Happy.
“…And I’ll cut back on drinking. I’ll go to that veterans’ support-group thing you want me to.”
Leni had seen all of this before. Ultimately, it didn’t matter what she or Mama wanted.
Dad wanted a new beginning. Needed it. And Mama needed him to be happy.
So they would try again in a new place…
But that light soon turns dim, in so many ways.
They appear very loving and affectionate, but it’s soon revealed that her father suffers from alcoholism and deep depression, due to what he was subjected to as a veteran and a prisoner of war). He survived… physically. But who he once was died before he was rescued.
Sure, Dad lost his temper sometimes and he yelled and they never had enough money and they moved all the time to distance themselves from creditors, but that was their way, and they loved each other.
But sometimes, especially on days like today, Leni was afraid.
Couple that with his deeply suspicious nature, jealous rages and unwavering demands and commands, and this story of hope soon turns into one of horror. Sometimes I’d see something coming a mile away, and I’d be all… OMG NOOOOO!!! NOOOOO!!!
Though… you know what guys? It’s so much more than all that. It’s not all torment – there’s so much more to their lives than HIM. I promise. Did I ugly cry? Of course!! How could I not? There are just so many up-and-down facets to her life.
Your heart will be in it from the start, in so many different ways. It’s just so real, so vivid, so thoughtful, that I could swear this was a true story (and an addictive one that you won’t want to put down). A terrible downward spiral, but so incredibly uplifting, too. I was wholeheartedly fulfilled when I hit the end.
5 STARS!!! <– NO DOUBT ABOUT IT!