Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee at It’s Book Talk to share old favorite books rather than just the new shiny ones. This is a great idea to bring back to life some much-loved books. Please feel free to join in.
My choice for this week is:
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Published February 6th 2018 by St. Martin’s Press
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.
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.
Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, 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. She is desperate for 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.
At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.
But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.
In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.
Wow. I can’t believe it’s been over three years since this was released. I remember so much about that it feels like I just read it yesterday. Kristin Hannah is absolutely one of my favorite authors and this book and The Nightingale are two of my very favorite books.
The following is from my original review:
This was an entertaining and emotional read with an engrossing plot and well-developed characters. I could almost feel the bitter cold from the long isolating winters, but I could also see the beauty of Alaska with its gorgeous mountains and blue skies.
“Alaska herself can be Sleeping Beauty one minute and a bitch with a sawed-off shotgun the next”
Hope, love, and memory can keep you stuck. The 1970’s, a time when a woman still needed a man’s signature to get a credit card. The lack of understanding and assistance available. They called it “Gross Stress Reaction” or “ Battle Fatigue” back then… the horrible flashbacks and nightmares, the anxiety and anger, the inability to cope with regular life. Now it’s called PTSD post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSI – post-traumatic stress injury . Soldiers, who gave everything to the war, then came back to a world that many of them couldn’t function in, a world that didn’t know how to help them heal.
“I need this, Cora. I need a place where I can breathe again. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to crawl out of my skin. Up there, the flashbacks and shit will stop, I know it. We need this. We can go back to the way things were before ‘Nam screwed me up.”
“The Great Alone” does not disappoint. This was another fascinating, thought-provoking, and captivating read. Heartbreaking at times… but there were also moments of great love and unbelievable kindness. A gripping story where I was desperate to know what was going to happen next. A bittersweet but satisfying ending topped off this amazing read.
Have you read this?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!