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The Great Alone

por Kristin Hannah

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4,7982532,301 (4.08)101
Lenora Allbright is 13 when her father convinces her mother, Cora, to forgo their inauspicious existence in Seattle and move to Kaneq, AK. It's 1974, and the former Vietnam POW sees a better future away from the noise and nightmares that plague him. Having been left a homestead by a buddy who died in the war, Ernt is secure in his beliefs, but never was a family less prepared for the reality of Alaska, the long, cold winters and isolation. Locals want to help out, especially classmate Matthew Walker, who likes everything about Leni. Yet the harsh conditions bring out the worst in Ernt, whose paranoia takes over their lives and exacerbates what Leni sees as the toxic relationship between her parents. The Allbrights are as green as greenhorns can be, and even first love must endure unimaginable hardship and tragedy as the wilderness tries to claim more victims.… (mais)
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Ernt Allbright left his young wife to fight in Viet Nam. Unfortunately, he spent seven years as a POW and returned a bitter, angry man. Unable to hold a job very long due to his PTSD, when he found himself having inherited some land in Alaska, he packed up his wife and 13 year old daughter, Leni, to make a new start.

He had long admired the survivalist life style, and while he didn’t have the skills to pull it off, his neighbors helped him out and taught him what he needed to know about hunting, building, raising livestock and gardens in the brutal Alaskan conditions, especially the dark and frigid winters.

But while for some, demons are left behind in the wilderness, for others, the demons are empowered. Leni’s friendship with the son of a more prosperous and successful family burned Ernt like fire. His wife had more and more bruises from falls. Eventually Ernt decided that the only way to control his family and keep them safe was to build a literal fortress around their property with himself having the only key.

Although the story is told from Leni’s viewpoint, to me it was the story of her father; his illness twisting and destroying what he loved. Until finally, Leni and her mother had to take their destinies into their own hands.

I found it a fast read. Some of the turns, such as love-interest’s Matthew’s outcome seemed overly optimistic. And while I would love to see neighbors come together to help and shield the most vulnerable newcomers in their midst, I recognize that it takes very special sort of people to do that.

And yet, I was entertained and engrossed by the story which shed light on why people are drawn into this lifestyle and how some become stuck and some move on when the deepest trauma strikes. 3.8 stars ( )
  streamsong | Feb 8, 2024 |
A complex, beautiful, and heartbreaking story of survival, co-dependency, abuse, and love set largely in the Alaskan frontier in the 1970s. Nothing trite, nothing predictable, and entirely believable. I had trouble putting it down to eat and sleep and work — I was invested in all of the characters from the first page to the last. ( )
  bschweiger | Feb 4, 2024 |
Pretty good story about a troubled family trying to escape demons in Alaska. Some find peace in the wilderness but others get more angry and lost.

Tough to read about domestic abuse but the community of townsfolk help to mitigate the harsher side of the story.

It got a little overly melodramatic for me towards the end but for the most part I enjoyed the book. ( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
I've read my share of pulp fiction romance novels, adventure novels, and so on, and this book filled the bill for a typical beach read (although I read it for my book club). I found it well written up to the last few chapters in which it seemed like the author suddenly decided the book was long enough and just wanted to wrap things up. It's too bad because the book was a page-turner before that.

Spoiler alert begins here.

Despite calling the bulk of the book well-written, there were weaknesses. I won't repeat what many others have said (example: too many bad things befall the characters) but the love stories between Leni and Matthew were too far weak for my taste or lackluster. And the the characters, especially Leni and her mom, were too superficially written. Compare them to Large Marge, a much more interesting character

There were too many unbelievable things. Examples:
- Upon arrival to Alaska, other Kenaq residents gave them support that's just too much to believe. (I'm sure Alaskans are nice but still...)
- Tom Walker making no attempt to follow up on the property damage that Ernt caused to his store.
- When Leni moves back to Alaska, Matthew's mental issues vanish mid-paragraph and he suddenly understands who she is, talking in long coherent sentences, and that he has a son.

Last note: Reading this during the COVID pandemic, it's rather striking when Ernt keeps ranting about the possibility of a pandemic, breakdown of society, etc. No doubt the author intended this to land differently than it does today.

( )
  donwon | Jan 22, 2024 |
What a beautiful book. It touched my soul and captured my heart. It also broke me into a thousand pieces. Loved every second of reading this book and will read again. ( )
  Spiritrider1101 | Jan 18, 2024 |
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Hannah, Kristinautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Whelan, JuliaNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Nature never deceives us; it is always we who deceive ourselves.
---JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU
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To the women in my family. All of them are warriors. Sharon, Debbie, Laura, Julie, Mackenzie, Sara, Kaylee, Toni, Jacquie, Dana, Leslie, Katie, Joan, Jerrie, Liz, Courtney, and Stephanie.

And to Braden, our newest adventurer.
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"Alaska herself can be Sleeping Beauty one minute and a bitch with a sawed-off shotgun the next. There's a saying: Up here you can make one mistake. The second one will kill you."
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Lenora Allbright is 13 when her father convinces her mother, Cora, to forgo their inauspicious existence in Seattle and move to Kaneq, AK. It's 1974, and the former Vietnam POW sees a better future away from the noise and nightmares that plague him. Having been left a homestead by a buddy who died in the war, Ernt is secure in his beliefs, but never was a family less prepared for the reality of Alaska, the long, cold winters and isolation. Locals want to help out, especially classmate Matthew Walker, who likes everything about Leni. Yet the harsh conditions bring out the worst in Ernt, whose paranoia takes over their lives and exacerbates what Leni sees as the toxic relationship between her parents. The Allbrights are as green as greenhorns can be, and even first love must endure unimaginable hardship and tragedy as the wilderness tries to claim more victims.

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