The Great Alone – By Kristin Hannah
Thank you to Michelle D., RN for submitting this book and thank you for telling us how it inspired you!
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*Perfect for fans of Delia Owens and Lisa Wingate, The Great Alone was named BuzzFeed’s “Most Anticipated Women’s Fiction Reads of 2018”.
Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.
Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown.
At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.
But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.
In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.
The Great Alone is a story of a young girl whose family decides to relocate to Alaska. Their family has been fairly transient as her father, an American veteran from the Vietnam war, never seemed to keep steady work. He inherits some land from a deceased family member and decides to set roots in Alaska.
The father initially romanticizes the idea of Alaska to his wife and daughter, talking about a fresh start and all the possibilities that will come in this new place. Reality sets in as this new life comes with more challenges, not only from being physically isolated, but also from the elements, and dare I say – each other. Winters are long with brief to no daylight, summers have short growing seasons and resources are limited.
This wasn’t a book I have read during my travel assignment, but it was one of the books that inspired me to try travel nursing. I have always loved books about nature and isolation. Overcoming the elements, and finding/challenging yourself. The main character is brought into this small isolated community in Alaska and without this community her family would have likely starved their first winter alone. There is something to be said about community watching out for each other, especially in these small towns.
This book has a lot of depth and definitely some unexpected twists and turns. Whenever someone asks me for a book recommendation this is always the first book that comes to mind.