About The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
In this story, Leni is a young girl growing up in the turbulent ’70s. Her father has returned from the Vietnam War after being a prisoner of war for 6 years. He comes back haunted, and his ghosts haunt the entire family.
When Leni’s dad, Ernt, learns that he’s inherited a home and land in Alaska from a friend who was killed in the war, the family packs up and heads for The Great Alone.
While their neighbors teach them about the dangers all around them and how to survive the long Alaskan winter, Leni soon discovers that the real danger is inside the cabin.
When her father meets Mad Earl, the father of the man Ernt inherited land from, Leni’s father’s problems worsen. While he was always a bit paranoid, now he worries about government intrusion in his life as well as the end of times and how to prepare for it. Mad Earl seems to fuel all of these thoughts.
When the long Alaskan winter descends upon them, Leni’s father tries to control his temper. However, the darkness descends both outside and in. Both Leni and her mother are afraid that they won’t make it through the winter.
My Thoughts on the Book
This is a book that will make you pack up and want to go to Alaska, if only for the beautiful scenery and good neighbors that Leni finds (the exception being Mad Earl). However, the book is also a reflection of a bygone time when soldiers came home broken and unable to find help. How different might Leni’s father have been if Ernt was able to get help for his PTSD? How different might his life have been? Her mother’s? Her own?
Hannah’s beautifully written story caused me to read too much in the day, neglecting my other duties. It also made me cry several times. There are so many twists and turns in this book, making it all the more interesting to read. Highly recommended.
I give The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah 5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.