“Alaska isn’t about who you were when you headed this way. It’s about who you become.”
Set in the late 1900’s, The Great Alone follows the story of the search for solitude, and the revelations that come with living with nothing but yourself.
The Allbrights have lived everywhere, and seen everything. Ernt Allbright has not been the same since he returned from Vietnam, and nobody knows that better than his wife Cora, and his daughter, Leni. Darkness as followed Ernt since, and it clouds have rolled over his family as they attempt to live a normal life. They move from house to house, state to state, searching for the feeling of peace. A new beginning for Ernt, one where he doesn’t have nightmares that turn into reality. One day, Ernt decides he needs to move to Alaska. He decides that he NEEDS this, in order to be better again. Cora and Lena begrudgingly follow him all the way to a place full of darkness.
Alaska is everything they thought it would be, and more. Alaska is cold, dark, brutal. Alaska is also friendly, light, and full of love.
The Allbrights are greeted with a sense of loyalty and community they have never received before. They are also warned continuously of the dangers of Alaska. They are told to watch out for the bears. Watch out for the ice. Prepare for the winter. The winter is all people talk about in Alaska. Neighbours spend sunrise to sunset working to prepare for the harsh and unpredictable weather.
Leni has never had friends, she has moved too much to build relationships with people. Being a friend means sharing the secrets she holds deeply to her heart – she can’t have a friend because she can’t be one. Leni goes to school in her town, a room that consists of a teacher and a handful of students, all different ages. She spots one boy around the same age as hers, and there she has it. Her first real friend. Her first true love.
While Alaska is good in many ways for the Allbrights, it also breaks them. Leni watches her parents go from falling in love all over again, to fighting, to falling back in love. One thing becomes clear to her, even as a young girl – their love is not normal. Ernt goes through periods of darkness where he loses his temper and harms all that is in his way, including his wife and daughter. Leni is ashamed to live in fear of the man who is supposed to protect her and make her feel safe.
“All this time, Dad had taught Leni how dangerous the outside world was. The truth was that the biggest danger of all was in her own home.”
The question is clear: will the solitude of Alaska break the Allbrights, or put them back together? Will Cora stand up for herself, and run from the love she ran so fast towards? Or will she keep coming back to her love, despite the dangers it comes with?
Will Leni survive Alaska? Will she survive the darkness of her family?
Kristin Hannah once again, writes an emotionally compelling story that has brought me to tears. I loved reading this story from the perspective of Leni. Although she was awfully young when the story started, she was wise. This story teaches you that some love is unconditional, even if it is bad for you. This is an eye-opening, enchanting read. Just the thought of Alaska, living there THROUGH The Allbrights, taught me about myself as well.
Read this and fall in love with Kristin Hannah. You will then proceed to purchasing everything she’s ever written. My book package is on its way.