The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah


photo via Danille Colburn under the creative commons

Kristen Hannah’s, The Great Alone, is a compelling read set in the Vietnam Era.

The Great Alone is not your typical cheesy romance novel. It is, however, a daring, compelling book about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wilderness that lives in both man and nature.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Like all fairy tales, theirs was filled with thickets and dark places and broken dreams, and runaway girls.”

— Text from the novel The Great Alone

Thirteen-year-old Leni is caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers, but as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Leni realizes that it’s not the outside that she should fear, but what happens when the doors are shut.

I should start by saying that this is not a book that you can read all in one night, not only because it is a lengthy book, but because it will pull on your heart-strings making you want to both cry and throw the book at a wall in anger.

I found that Kristen Hannah does a good job making a realistic book. She used places in Alaska that actually exist, and the book is packed with vivid descriptions of Alaskan scenery. It makes you think about how Alaska sounds equally gorgeous and treacherous, a glistening place that lures folks into the wild and then kills them there.

If you are looking to read a book that will make you feel every emotion, then this is perfect for you.

You can find this book at your local Barnes and Noble or Target.

Alyssa Gehrke
I would give this story an 8 out of 10 stars for their work