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review 2018-10-03 16:30
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
The Great Alone - Kristin Hannah
 
THE GREAT ALONE by Kristin Hannah
 
 
Which would you rather do? Die by freezing, starving or being mauled to death by “Alaska” or die at the hands of your abusive, PTSD addled father?
 
 
Hannah has written a tense, terrifying love story. But is it a story of love for the beautiful wildness of Alaska or the wildly beautiful love of a father for his wife and daughter?
 
Leni’s father has decided the family will move to Alaska where he will finally be happy. They are woefully unprepared for the rigors of homesteading in America’s last wilderness. Taken under the wings of Large Marge, a successful homesteader and formerly successful big city prosecutor, the family quickly learns to be relatively self-sufficient. Leni learns to love Alaska and the “wild” life style her father has decreed for the family. Unfortunately, Leni’s father is friend and compatriot with Mad Earl, a rabid anti-government survivalist. Matthew, a classmate of Leni’s, becomes her only friend.
 
The wildness of nature and the difficulties of surviving in Alaska during the 1970’s and 80’s is made excruciating clear. The terror of living with an out of control abuser suffering from PTSD after surviving as a POW in Viet Nam is also clear. The relationships between mother and daughter, mother and father, Leni and Matthew, father and Mad Earl, among others, are clear and determine the vector and velocity of the plot.
 
5 of 5 stars


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review 2018-08-30 17:16
The Great Alone
The Great Alone - Kristin Hannah

Every once in a while, if you're lucky, you come across a book that is always on your mind.  You find yourself at work, the grocery store, yoga class, wondering what the characters are doing, if they're okay, what adventure lies ahead.

 
The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah, is one of those books.  It is persistently unputdownable.  It is incredibly written and a lovely sort of haunting. 
 
In the Vietnam Era in America, with a country divided and men returning home as zombies, mere shadows of the men they were when they left, lives were irrevocably changed.
 
Set during this tumultuous time, Hannah tells the coming of age tale of Leni Allbright, who suddenly finds herself and her life being uprooted by her dad's latest and greatest idea.
 
A veteran and POW, Ernt Allbright receives news that a fallen comrade has left his homestead as his legacy to Ernt.  In Alaska.  What better way to heal all wounds than to start fresh?
 
The Allbrights, Leni, her mother Cora, and Ernt, soon find themselves standing in the Alaskan wilderness, completely unprepared.  Hannah paints Alaska as a character in itself, so beautifully majestic that her deadliness is shocking and unexpected.  And the fear of what can kill you (which is pretty much everything) quickly moves from the outside into the home they have built from the shambles of their inherited house. 
 
Life quickly turns into a struggle for survival as Ernt becomes increasingly violent and abusive and the women have no choice but to somehow find a way out.  Find a way to survive. 
 
Guest Review by Kate Kelly
 
 
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review 2018-05-24 00:00
Firefly Lane
Firefly Lane - Kristin Hannah I’ve read through lots of reviews of Kristin Hannah’s, Firefly Lane, and found some truth in all. It’s not usually my kind of book, but I took a chance. I’m glad I did. I don’t review what the book is about, that’s what the back cover does. My review is of the writing.
Is it cliché? Yes, but what story isn’t? Whether a book is about romance, friendship, war or peace, its all been done before. It’s all in how you mix the details. As a writer myself, I’ve always been told you’ve got to keep piling the troubles on to keep the reader interested. And, while that is true to keep a story going, I think you have to have triumphs mixed in there too. Get the characters some rewards along the way, but with the whisper of troubles ahead. Ms Hannah does this skillfully. I think that is why some people found this such a great story. Lives have ups and downs, that’s how the tale of them should go.
I didn’t expect the climactic last four chapters or so. Something I myself have lived through. While painful to recall, they were very accurate and sad.
It’s a thick book, but when you’re covering 30 years what do you expect? While I don’t have a small fraction of Ms Hannah’s fans, I can clearly see why they love her writing. This turned out to be a great read and I give it my highest recommendation.
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review 2018-05-22 13:43
The Great Alone
The Great Alone - Kristin Hannah
I thought this novel moved quickly, it covered a lot of ground. There were times though that I wanted the novel to move even faster, as the scene unfolding was brutal and it seemed as if time stood still. The landscape provided for a volatile tale and the characters inside this novel filled-in the rest. Explosive and dangerous at times yet a few pages later, a tranquil and caring sensation spread over the pages. This was Alaska, the home to individuals who set out searching for something and the home to those wanting to hide.
 
Leni’s father, Ernt has not been the same since he came back from the Vietnam War. His cheery personality went out the door and, in its place, stood a man who was distant, moody, and angered easily. Leni is tired of starting new schools and would like her parents to put down some roots.
 
Ernt has been gifted with some land from a friend he knew in the service. This soldier died but left his land to Ernt. Leni has mixed feeling about moving to Alaska. Finally, her family will have a permanent home but Alaska seems like such a harsh place to live.
 
 
They meet Large Marge who runs the general store in Alaska and immediately, I knew I liked her. She was honest and she spoke what she thought. I was glad that Leni’s homestead would be close to L.M. as I thought she was someone Leni needed in her life. Finally arriving at their homestead, they see their land is overgrown, the cabin deteriorating, but Ernt’s dreams were growing. With no modern conveniences, Leni tries to remain positive while taking in her surroundings.
 
There is a great community around them and soon the family is receiving help getting their prepared. Leni and her mother hope this move will change their father but it isn’t long before he finds the bar and the individuals who encourage his beliefs. Leni finds some escape when she finds a new friend at school, Matthew. While her mother, tries to fit in and comfort her father.
 
As winter approaches, father’s worsening behavior begins to take it toil on the family and those around them. I cringed as I read, hoping someone would step in and remedy the situation. Everything was coming together: the isolation, the harsh Alaskan winter, and the newness of their situation, it was all of these elements that made this story intense and unpredictable. Leni’s relationship with Mathew seemed like a bright light on this situation until we added father to the mix and then, this light began to dim. As I looked at Mother, she thought love held her close to her husband but as she accepted the abuse and she spoke the lies, a part of mother was dying.
 
I enjoyed this novel. I thought the setting of the story was terrific and it put some great elements into how the story unfolded. The characters had me on edge. They each had their own personality and together they made a great community.
 
‘Sick, twisted, love that bound her parents together.”

 

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review 2018-05-08 23:29
The Great Alone
The Great Alone - Kristin Hannah

The setup and the beginning of The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah is intense in the characters, the setting, the situation, and the emotion. It has a sympathetic main character to care about. The events seem frighteningly real. However, as the book proceeds, it seems like a race to incorporate every bad thing that can happen into this one story. Let's just say that it goes too far and undermines the "reality" of the powerful setup of the book.

 

Reviewed for NetGalley

Source: www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2018/05/the-great-alone.html
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