Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Great Alone

When Ernt Allbright returns from Vietnam his family is waiting with open arms. Wife Cora and daughter Leni struggle for years trying to uncover the man they know must be buried deep beneath these horrible layers that have become his persona. In 1974, Leni is 13 and she hasn’t a friend in the world. In answer to Ernt’s uncontrollable emotions and outbursts, they have moved over and over again. Land has been given to him with a small cabin in a remote corner of Alaska. This beautiful paradise and welcoming few neighbors seems idyllic at first. Ernt’s nightmares have subsided. He is sleeping for the first time in years. And Leni, at 13, desperately lonely has made a friend her age, Matthew. The town is quick to warn them, the sun may be shining in May but its time to prepare for the long, dark winter or they will not survive. While they exert daily physical and mental energy to make a home for themselves, the days very quickly get shorter, as does Ernt’s temper. He becomes a prepper for both the weather and government that he suspects will knock down their fence at any moment. Ernt’s violent nature resurfaces and nothing, not a caring neighbor or a prayer will stop him. This magnificent portrayal of love, pain, friendship, beauty and survival is filled with many of life’s hardest lessons. This descriptive beauty of Alaska mesmerized my senses and Ernt’s sad violence ripped my heart out. This is a bit of a lengthy saga but push through my friends! It is worth every moment spent devouring this family’s experience and Leni’s heroic journey to the end. Highly recommend and loved author, Kristin Hannah’s acknowledgements of her personal Alaska connection.

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