“You think I should go back for her?” she asked.
“I think you stand by the people you love.”
Let me just start off by saying, that I rarely ever get truly emotional when it comes to what I am reading. Sure, I feel sad or frustrated. But it takes a lot to get me to cry while reading. (Movies is another story!)
As I often do, I approached this book without having read the inside cover. I knew it was about a family that moves to Alaska. Outside of that the only think I knew was that most people have enjoyed it.
Ernt Allbright isn’t the same man he was before the Vietnam War. He is angry and volatile. After losing his job, again, he decides that he is moving his family to the Alaska to live off the land in the last frontier.
Leni is thirteen years old when they move and is caught between her parents complicated love for each other. She hopes that Alaska gives her family what it needs- a place to belong and somewhere to call home.
As the long summer days turn to long dark nights, tensions arise and violence ensues. Up in the middle of nowhere Alaska, the Allbright’s have nobody to save them but themselves.
This book is one of few, possibly the only one, that has made me cry and choke back tears for over half of it. Because I want you to feel the same amount of emotion, I tried to leave out as many spoilers as I could while writing the synopsis.
Kristin Hannah was able to create characters that are complex and deep in a very short amount of time. This lent itself to characters that were easy to connect with, feel for, and live alongside. Without such rich characters, I really doubt that this book would have had the effect that it did on me as the reader.
The supporting characters were some of my favorites as well! The book focuses on Leni (mostly) but her interactions with all the other characters in the book helped to shape the new life that she was living. They exemplified the idea that Alaska was a place for people to go where their reasons remained their own. They were such a supportive community.
When you pair her amazing characters with her ability to create such imagery about Kaneq, Alaska, you are met with a story that both challenges you and supports you. Hannah did a great job of making me feel like I also lived in Alaska with the Allbrights. I was able to feel the severity and beautify of the mountainous and unforgiving landscape. I learned alongside them how to survive and how the thrive.
The Great Alone is a tragic, yet enduring, tale about loss, grief, family, anger, and most importantly love.
I will definitely be keeping this book on my shelf forever and hope to spread the impact of this book to many others!
I would love to hear your thoughts on this book. Comment below if you have read it or think that you might!
Find it on Amazon!