‘The Great Alone’ by Kristin Hannah

(Book review)

Are you looking for a book to fall out from reality for several days while reading (and, of course, the week after)? Are you looking for the one to be addicted to from the first page till the end?
Congrats, you have found it! ‘The Great Alone’ by Kristin Hannah is the great epic novel that will make you cry, laugh, hold your breath and just READ, READ, READ till the very end, even if you are not a book fan at all.

This book is the emotional family saga with both dangerous and attractive nature of Alaska on the background. It’s the fantastic novel about human’s will, the ability to survive and overcome something inconceivable.

As the story begins, we meet the Allbright family. Ernt and Cora are the married couple, they are just arguing in the kitchen. Their daughter Leni is a typical 13-year-old red-haired schoolgirl, who is just listening to their screams from her room. You probably think it seems to be absolutely normal as for usual family realities, but everything is much worse.

Ernt is an ex-soldier, who fought and survived during the Vietnam war in 1970’s. He had smiled before he left. His family had been happy before he left. But since dad came home, he has changed beyond recognition. Man suffers from nightmares he sees and flashbacks he feels anytime. It is described as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), however, it appears as awful screams, beating of mother and one of the worst things in the world – the violence. Some sincere repentance, regrets and apologies are following. And, finally, all of the above repeats in a circle.

Regularly Ernt needs to change the residence because he doesn’t feel comfortably anywhere. Every time they change their home each member believes it would be the only and the last one, but it never ends.

This time father also came home with his well-known ‘Big Idea’ smile. His late friend from the war bequeathed to Ernt his house in Alaska. What could be better for the warworn man and for his family as well? The house on the edge of the world, unity with the wild nature, isolation from the mad city rhythm, the freedom inside and outside… An ideal picture, isn’t it?

But what do we have in the point of fact? Does the REAL world of Kaneq (the town in Alaska) have any similarities to the expectable one? Why does everybody speak about the winter round-the-clock? Is there a place for the first teens’ love or even adults’ love triangles? What relationships are between inhabitants in Alaska? And, the main question, what relationships are in the Allbright family? Would father change for the better? Or would the severe Alaskan winter wake the beast in him?

“– 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.”

Most of all I liked the plot twists which were unexpected and affecting. The story kept me guessing what is going to happen for all time! I’m sure it’s the best method to be gripped by and to fell in love with any book.

Moreover, I always got contrast feelings concerning the main characters. You know, I have been accumulating the hate and forgiveness to Ernt, such a self-luck-murder; the sympathy and misunderstanding to Cora, the masochist cutie, who is ready to suffer just because she loves (Isn’t it egoistically as well?); the empathy and absolutely support to Leni, a girl of my age, to her first love feelings and fateful decisions she made. With full confidence I can say Leni is my favorite hero, because if I were her, I would act the same way.

The other thing I liked about the book is the realness. We don’t have any fantastic subjects or fairy tales (maybe just a little bit at the end), only the depiction of people, actions and situations we can face and deal with in real life.

And, of course, the descriptions of nature, such magnificent and fantastic wild nature! I fell in love with Alaska’s gorgeous mountains and blue-skies thanks to this book. Now I dream to see its beauty and inaccessibility by my own eyes.

About some cons. Fortunately or not, I don’t believe in happy ends. Maybe it is not absolutely ‘happy,’ just a kind of bittersweet ones, but anyway it seemed to be unrealistic. As for me, the book would leave more painful marks to a reader’s heart if the end was another. IMHO, of course:)

The second moment I didn’t like is a deadly disease description. In general, it always makes me feel some scare, rejection, non-acceptance etc. The part of this book with suchlike ones was not an exception and caused these emotions. If you have the same reaction, don’t read the book or just be ready.

To sum up, even despite these minuses, the advantages are more significant and block off all flaws. So, for the present I consider this book as the best one I have ever read. ‘The Great Alone’ is the best variant for family-drama or tragedy fans, but I’m sure it would be interesting to everyone.

Are you still thinking to read or not to read?! Run to the book shop and grab it immediately! You won’t be disappointed, I promise!

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