Review: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The Great Alone

Alaska, 1974.
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Thirteen-year-old Leni is coming of age in a tumultuous time. Caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, she dares to hope that Alaska will lead to a better future for her family, and a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown.

First off I have to say I wasn’t particularly looking forward to this book. It was my bookgroup read for the month and the cover and blurb didn’t really grab me. Even so I thought I should at least give it a go. I’m so glad I did. Turns out I loved it and read it in 3 days!

Leni is 13 when the book starts, when her alcoholic, PTSD suffering Dad uproots her family yet again to move to Alaska.

Leni and her Mum, Cora have to get used to the harsh Alaskan life, they arrive in summer when daylight stretches for 13 hours a day. But they quickly learn they need to be tougher here, to learn to shoot and garden and be self sufficient.

With the help of their neighbours the family settle quickly into the Alaskan way of life. Until winter comes, until the dark days raise the darkness in her father and their struggle becomes not just against the elements but against the demons her father battles.

A friend of mine said this book has ‘issues’ and she’s right it really does. It tackles a lot of issues. From large to small. I counted at least 7 different ones, mostly heavy as well. So if books hit your trigger points this probably isn’t the one for you.

The prose was gorgeous, at times it felt like you were there, in the snowy Alaskan landscape. The characters beautifully drawn. I cried several times reading The Great Alone, I thoroughly recommend it and will be looking up Kristin Hannah’s back catalogue as well.

2 thoughts on “Review: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

  1. I’m glad you gave this book a go, isn’t it so worth it? I read this last year and it’s one of the books that stuck with me, I remember reading the last few chapters on a bus home from visiting family, and swallowing tears. Definitely one of my top reads for last year. Great review!

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