The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah



source: purchased
title: The Great Alone
author: Kristin Hannah
genre: fiction
published: 2018
pages: 448
first line: That spring, rain fell in great sweeping gusts that rattled the rooftops.
rated: 4 out of 5 stars

blurb:

Alaska, 1974. Ernt Allbright came home from the Vietnam War a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes the impulsive decision to move his wife and daughter north where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Cora will do anything for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. Thirteen-year-old Leni, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, has little choice but to go along, daring to hope this new land promises her family a better future.

In a wild, remote corner of Alaska, the Allbrights 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 newcomers’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates. 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.

my thoughts:

I have to start my review off by mentioning I’m slightly obsessing over author Kristin Hannah’s books now after this one and I plan on reading more. After reading The Four Winds last year I quickly ordered The Great Alone. It has taken me several months to get to this one but I was up past midnight this weekend reading I was so hooked. At the center of the story is 13 year old Leni Allbright and her parents Ernt and Cora. Ernt is a Vietnam POW. This family of three is dysfunctional to begin with and Ernt is an alcoholic and abusive towards his wife and he now suffers from PTSD. When his late war buddy leaves him a house in remote Alaska, Ernt packs the family up to live off the grid. Why on Earth the wife Cora would agree to move to the middle of nowhere with little planning and next to nothing but the clothes on their backs with an abusive alcoholic husband who also sufferers from PTSD is beyond me but off they go. Ernt promises that the Alaskan setting will help him be better. This almost reminded me of The Shining.

Once in Alaska, the Allbright’s meet the locals and settle into life off the grid and harsh climate living. As the years pass and Leni gets into her teen years she falls in love with a local boy. She sees her parents differently as a young adult and wonders if her mother can ever have the strength to leave her abusive marriage.

Now, as I said, I was hooked late into the night reading this one. Kristin Hannah has a way of drawing you in with her writing. However, as much as I enjoyed this book I also had a few qualms with it. Firstly Ernt. His character seemed underdeveloped. Why was he physically abusive to his wife? It’s hinted at that this was going on before he left to Vietnam so why? We know nothing about his background. Secondly, Cora. Why was she so weak? I wanted to scream at her while reading. She seemed to have a twisted lovesick teenage relationship with Ernt. Often times they couldn’t keep their hands off each other and didn’t care who was around. Cora’s parents are in the story but again there is nothing explaining why she clings to an abusive husband.

The first 200 pages or so were riveting, I loved reading about the Alaskan landscape and was curious to see where the story would go once the Allbright’s settled into their cabin in the middle of nowhere. I find that this author is great with writing the settings in her stories and The Great Alone was no different. Then the story started to drag a little but I saw that the author was setting things up for the latter half of the book which picked right back up again. I liked Leni’s character alot. This was a coming of age story for her. I liked seeing her realize how toxic her parents are and that that she decided to take a different path. This is also a story about mothers and daughters and the bonds between women. The book took many twists and turns and I was stunned, I teared up, I was on the edge of my seat while reading. This would make a great mini-series.

So while I had a few issues with the story I was still up late into the night reading even though I had to be up early for work the next morning. I’ve already ordered The Nightingale because this author has a way of pulling at my emotions with her stories. What grabbed my attention most about this book was Leni and the bond she had with her mother.

“In the naivete of her youth, her parents had seemed like towering presences, omnipotent and all-knowing. But they weren’t that; they were just two broken people.” -p.249, The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

“Such a thin veil separated the past from the present; they existed simultaneously in the human heart”. – p. 433 The Great Alone

About the author:
Kristin Hannah is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, which was named Goodreads Best Historical fiction novel for 2015 and won the coveted People’s Choice award for best fiction in the same year. Additionally, it was named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, iTunes, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, Paste, and The Week.-quoted from Amazon

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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday 1/23/2022: Updates and Crochet



The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists….

Hello all. I hope you are doing well and reading good books. I’m glad January is almost over with because January through March are the dreary cold winter months here and my least favorite time of the year. The weather lately has been bitter cold. I’m grateful I am working fully remote again through next month at least so I don’t have to venture out in the cold.


onto my updates…

recently on the blog:

I shared my thoughts on 1984.

reading now: (both are very good)

Our Trespasses: A Paranormal Thriller by Michael Cordell


The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

in my mailbox:

I found a next to new hard cover copy of Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King at a local used book/record shop.



watching:
I’m hooked on I Am A Killer on Netflix. We watched Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far which is based on a true story and is very good.

crochet: (with ranting)
I made a unicorn. The curls took the longest to make, nearly 4 hours to make and attach. I’ve named him Lafayette (from Hamilton).





After sharing pics online, a few people messaged me wanting this unicorn. I am flattered that people like my work but it gets to a point where it’s a bit much sometimes. I didn’t want to sell this item to begin with, I worked on him a full week and I work full time as it is. But I did message a price out of guilt to one person who is distant family.
Basically I quoted the price to cover the materials and little else. Materials for this alone cost me about $25.00 and the price I quoted meant I’d get paid maybe $1.25 per hour which is absolutely ridiculous anyway. In the end, they seemed to think I was just going to quote the shipping cost. As low as I quoted they didn’t even expect to pay for the price of materials let alone for my work. I don’t understand some people. Do they work for free? Why should I then? I didn’t want to sell this item to begin with is the irony of it.

If you crochet or knit or create has this happened to you? Where people either expect you to make them items for free or expect to underpay you?

I crochet for my extended family all the time and for my close friends also and I love seeing them enjoy what I make for them, it comes from my heart. That’s one of the things I love about crochet, it makes people smile. And I do take commissions, when it’s worth it because again, I don’t work for free.
But for people to expect me to make things and for either free or for pennies, I find it insulting.

If you’ve made it this far, sorry for the rant and thanks for listening. Happy weekend from Lafayette. 🙂




That wraps up my updates this week, what have you been up to? Stay well and happy reading!

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Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission. The photos here are my own and not be to be removed from this post.

1984 by George Orwell



source: purchased
title: 1984
author: George Orwell
published: 1949
genre: dystopian science fiction
pages: 328
first line: It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
rated: An interesting classic.

blurb:
Written more than 70 years ago, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, his dystopian vision of a government that will do anything to control the narrative is timelier than ever…

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit thoughtcrimes. But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching…

A startling and haunting novel, 1984 creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the novel’s hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions—a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.


my thoughts:

1984 is usually on assigned reading lists in high school and I’ve read Animal Farm by this author but not this one until now. My daughter had not read this either so dystopian fiction currently being one of her favorite genres, she selected it for us to co-read. She loved it and breezed through it. I found somewhat hard to get through at times but at other times I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

Written in 1949, 1984 is set in a dystopian future in the year near or about 1984. No one can be certain of the exact date or year because the government A.K.A. the Party controls everything. Narrated by 39 year old Winston, this is a bleak world where there are constant reminders everywhere that BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU. People do not have freedom, the past and history itself continue to be re-written again and again as ordered by the government so no one is truly certain of what has or will happen.

It is Winston’s government assigned job, to write “fake news”. This is a gloomy existence and you can see it on people’s faces, people are not happy or healthy. They live in a world with no joy, may sitting at computers working for hours on end. People are constantly being watched and reported for the slightest thing so that many people just go missing or “vanish” if found guilty of something such as free thought. Your sole existence and purpose is to serve the Party.

Winston thinks for himself and wants change. The story centers around his risking his life in order to see if change possible. He wants to find out if there are others like him. He struggles to remember his life as a child before the current situation and realizes how muddy his memory is since past events are always being re-told by the Party and are ever-changing. I found this part of the story hopeful, that Winston strives for change knowing the change will not occur in his lifetime but for future generations.

The book is separated into 3 sections and are no chapter breaks in 1984. I didn’t like this because it gave a sense of disorientation throughout the story but I can see why the author did this. It adds to the oppressiveness of the storyline.

Having written this in 1949 Orwell was ahead of his time and eerily hit the mark on some of his predictions. Big Brother does watch us at all times and we can be easily tracked without even realizing it. Reminds me of our smartphones and the apps on there, all of which ask for tracking permission. Most people are walking around like zombies, brainwashed into serving the Party whether they like it or not. Overall I found this to be a dark and interesting read (warning) about government, power and a bleak future that somehow seems plausible in several ways. I was surprised at the ending and found that Orwell made his point. I’m glad I finally read 1984.

I’ll close with a few favorite quotes:
“The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.” ― George Orwell, 1984

“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.”

“Being in a minority, even in a minority of one, did not make you mad. There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”

About the author:
Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language, and a belief in democratic socialism.-quoted from Goodreads

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Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of 1984 by George Orwell. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

Sunday Post/Mailbox Monday: 01/02/2022 Happy New Year and Yearly Wrap-up

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists….




Happy New Year! I wish you all a happy, healthy 2022. I hope you are doing well. How was your holiday?

It’s been an eventful week. I got sick this week with a stomach bug which today I’m finally feeling better from. Then yesterday we lost electricity from around noon till almost 9pm at night so not fun at all. The power company had some kind of equipment damage and my neighborhood lost power then it took them forever to fix since it was New Years Day.

So, this is my usual weekly updates post but also quick a yearly wrap-up of my 2021 reading year. Onto my updates….

in my mailbox:




The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins and these bookmarks were a gift from my daughter for Christmas. How pretty is this edition? And she got me handmade bookmarks one of which has a Stephen King quote on it. Also shown is the yarn bowl I received for Christmas. A yarn bowl is a bowl with a slot where you thread your strand of yarn through as you crochet so that it doesn’t get tangled up and or fall to the ground while you’re working. I love it, this is one of those knick-knacks I’ve always wanted but never treated myself to. This one says “It’s crochet, it’s knot knitting”.


Her Last Affair by John Searles arrived via NetGalley and the publisher.


watching:


The Silent Sea on Netflix is very interesting and I recommend. We have just two episodes left.

Also of note, 1000 Pound Sisters is crazy and entertaining and I’m still watching Sister Wives which I’ve been watching since day one. What are you watching?



My 2021 Reading Year

My reading was meh again this year. I read 14 books which is not good but at least I read somewhat. This has been my normal since 2020 hit. Before that I would average around 30. Has this happened to anyone else?

Favorite Book of 2021

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Runners up:

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay


Later by Stephen King


Seven Perfect Things by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Favorite bookish moment of 2021:

My daughter and I met author Nicholas Sparks!!

That wraps up my updates. Goodbye 2021 hello 2022! As usual, I’m aiming to read more in 2022 and now that my daughter and I have been reading books together to discuss them, I think I will get much more reading in.


What was your reading year like? What was your favorite book of 2021? Thanks for stopping in 🙂


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Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is available for download. Some of these links are affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.