Reader reviews and comments on The Great Alone, plus links to write your own review.

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The Great Alone

by Kristin Hannah

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah X
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
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  • Published:
    Feb 2018, 448 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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Power Reviewer
Beckyh

a terrifying love story
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.
B. Stalzer

So Worth Your Time
Reading this novel I felt I was watching a story unfold page by page, character by character. It showed the beauty and allure of Alaska along with the reality of life in Alaska which was as difficult as it was wonderful. The people in town became their own family as much from necessity as from needing to connect with others who sought out the adventure of living "off the grid" in one of the most beautifully natural areas still considered a frontier. The people knowing that each has come for their own reasons, are careful in not overstepping their boundaries allowing everyone to find their own way but knowing no one can survive if they aren't able to take help when it's needed. Although the story centers on Leni and her first best friend, Matthew, there are so many intertwined stories throughout that enrich the reading and enjoyment of this book. Hannah has made all the pieces of this story work together to make it richer and true to life in a town so far removed from the rest of us. I cared about these people and came to understand them and know them. They became more than just characters in a book because Hannah's character development was so well done. From the beginning to the end, this novel kept my interest. Even as I was anxious to know what the final chapter would reveal, I was aware that I would miss the people, their town, and life in Alaska.
I also listened to the audio of this book and it was one of the best books on audio I've heard.
Kelly Probst

A Great Read
I don't claim to be an avid book reader and I won't attempt to offer a 'clever critique'. This novel was passed on by a friend, we both lived in Anchorage, Alaska during the 1970's. The Great Alone did an amazing job of depicting the era and bringing the reader close into the lives of the characters. I felt like I was actually there! Also, because I recently experienced complicated grief and mourning, I knew exactly the guilt Leni felt in relation to Matthew. It was a powerful book for me and so well written. Thank you Kristin!
Power Reviewer
lalni

Fractured families and the wilderness
For those of you who have read Hannah's previous novel, do not expect a carbon copy of her work. This new book is, however, a wonderfully atmospheric and poignant look at the Alaska wilderness, PTSD, and fractured families. 13 year old old Lani Allbright is growing up in the 70's in the age of EST, Patty Hearst and Vietnam, where free love is all the rage. When her hippie parents decide to leave and move to land bestowed to them by a Vietnam buddy they hope getting away from the chaos of city life will be healing for the father and for the family as a whole. At first, it feels like this might be the answer to their prayers. With a colorful cast of characters, they plunge into a very rustic way of life yet awed by the majestic beauty of the state. However, the people keep warning them about the winter dangers and the people itself. As time goes on the winter darkness does takes hold but it becomes apparent that the real issue is not Alaska's winters but the darkness within the family. We watch Leni's growing awareness of the weakness within her family and her rising maturity regarding its dangers. Be warned-there is a lot of physical abuse in this book and for those who are sensitive to this issue, it may be a trigger. However, Hannah's beautiful prose portrays the splendor and ruggedness of a world we know too little about. It is easy to see how this world could unfurl difficulty for those running away from something. Note that this has already been optioned for film rights.
Veronica

Breathtaking
I read this book in one setting. I couldn't put it down. The characters just captured me and kept me enthralled. I visited Alaska in the 70's and the descriptions of the state are right on. Beautiful, but brutal. Just as the characters were beautiful, but brutal. I believe Kristin Hannah did it again.
Roe P

Get ready to stay up late!
Ms Hannah really knows how to tell a story. This book has it all...Adventure, Love, Tragedy, Mystery.

It takes place in the 70's in rural Alaska. At times while reading this book you actually feel like you are right there beside the characters. I read through the whole book (approx 430 pages) in a little over one day...Just could not put it down...Scheduled for release in February..do not miss it...
Ann

Enjoyable yet predictable
This is a very well written book that flows. It is a letdown after “the Nightingale” as that plot was quite original. I felt the characters and plot in this book were cliche and predictable. Like the story was designed to fit a framework.
Susie J

The Great Disappointment!
I so looked forward to this new book by Kristin Hannah because her previous title was so rewarding and satisfying. Unfortunately, this one is far from that - at least for me. The repetition in this book is unbelievable - how could an editor have allowed this to pass? In addition, many of the events in the book are simply too far-fetched to actually occur under the circumstances. Too much happens in too short a time or space. There are brief segments where the prose literally sings, and once I arrived at that point I took a deep breath and hoped I had passed the worst - only to be disappointed again and again. The publishing house fell far short on this one, I feel. Either that or I am asking myself who really wrote Kristin Hannah's great World War II novel of a short time ago.
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