The Great Alone: Book Review

The Great Alone, by Kristen Hannah: I have not read a book by Kristen Hannah before, but The Nightingale is now on my list. The Great Alone, is about a family who wants to escape life by moving to Alaska, it is based in the 1960s and the father is a POW from Vietnam. Coming back from the war he turns abusive and straight up crazy. Some parts of the book were hard to read due to his violent nature, but his daughter Leni is a survivor. The story follows Leni through her teenage years and into young adulthood. In the start she is a naïve girl just trying to avoid confrontation. We witness her transform into a courageous young woman who stands up for herself and her mother. I think I shouted, RUN LENI more than once and I did shed some tears. My only criticism, the end was drawn out. I can’t lie, I started to skim a bit, thinking: get on with it! I felt the story could have left out the last 20% of the book. In my writing class they discourage from epilogues, stating it usually means the author has left something out of the story.. Sometimes I like epilogues and I think the author could have shortened the book significantly with a few pages of an epilogue. Perhaps the author felt she couldn’t leave the end up to reader interpretation. So, she tied up every loose end you could imagine in a rather drawn out manner. If you like a neatly wrapped package with no loose ends, this book is for you. Personally, I don’t mind a little left unsaid, as long as the big questions are answered.

How about you? Do you like books that leave a little room for questions and interpretation at the end?

Final Note: The feature image is me in Alaska in 2011. I visited Homer, Seldovia, Anchorage, and Denali National Park. It’s beautiful and one of the best vacations I have ever had. Here are a few pictures that are in the area where the book takes place.


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