The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Genre: General Fiction
Setting: 1970’s Alaska
Thirteen-year-old Leni Allbright’s father, a former Vietnam War POW, moves his family to Alaska in a bid to rid himself of his war-stained memories. Leni and her mother do their best to please volatile Ernt, and for a time it works. They tend their remote land and befriend the other freedom seekers in their small community. But as winter sets in, Ernt’s darkness returns, and the only control he has is over his wife and daughter.
Through Leni’s eyes we see the beauty of the Alaskan landscape, a lonely girl finding a true friend, and a desperate daughter trying to save herself and her mother.
I’m so conflicted by The Great Alone that it’s a bit difficult to write a review for it.
While the writing was beautiful and the story engaging, there was just something lacking for me. The plot was not as seamless as it could have been and the tension felt manufactured. Some of the dramatic moments were just too unbelievable, as if the author was reaching into a hat for difficult situations in which to put the characters.
No spoilers here, but while one of the plot twists in this story of domestic abuse was obviously meant to shock the reader, it just had me shaking my head. This could have been remedied if the character’s sense of desperation was more developed, but I felt it just didn’t happen.
The end plodded to a slow halt and I was left feeling slightly dissatisfied, especially after all the five-star reviews I read beforehand.
This was the first book of Hannah’s that I’ve read and now I’m not sure if I’ll read another.
This is definitely a dissenting opinion on this highly acclaimed, well-received work and I welcome your rebuttals!
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