Buncombe Brief Book Review-The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

I first was introduced to Kristin Hannah, as many may have been, with her book The Nightingale.  So, I wanted to try this newer book by her because I’d loved her style and storytelling previously.  In this case, I think she did a good job by making interesting characters and placing them in a unique setting.  I think the remote region of Alaska where most of the story takes place seems intriguing and the descriptions of what it takes to make it out in the wild and thrive while homesteading made me want to run out and buy a piece of land.

Used from Variety Online.

Also, the natural hardships they endured, while not heavily detailed, where a present danger in the book but that’s not where the real trouble lies.  Leni, our young protagonist, and her mom, Cora, are essentially pulled to Alaska by Leni’s father, Ernt. He is a veteran that’s returned from Vietnam and he’s much worse for wear.

He’s abusive, prone to anger and paranoia, and he wants more and more isolation from the small town in which the live, despite being in one of the most isolated areas in the U.S.  Furthermore, the long nights/winters do nothing for his stability, which is both a rage-inducing characteristic that makes the reader cheer for his downfall and, if we can be a bit empathetic, makes us feel sorry for him…to a point.  Cora, Leni’s mom, often reminisces about what Ernt was like before the war, hoping the person she knew would break through the blackness and fog in his mind.

Overall, the book is good.  Without giving much away, it picks up speed near the end and I think moves too fast.  Things seem to be bleak then turn out okay and then more ups and downs occur. For those who have read it, I feel the whole arrest sequence near the end was pointless and a waste. If it was to show Tom’s reach and power it could have been done directly with the sheriff. If it was added for suspense, then it was done only for the sake of suspense which is unnecessary and, again, a waste of time.

Again though, I think this book is worth the read despite the weak ending (which is only weak in my opinion because it moves rather fast) but I think Kristin Hannah has produced another good read.