I struggled to get into ‘The Great Alone’ by Kirstin Hannah’ however the rest of the group had all enjoyed it – it was a story that moved with pace with much packed in. The comment was ‘What else can possibly go wrong for them’. The story is told from Leni’s perspective – at the start a young girl on the cusp of adolescence, although the action spans 10 years. Her father has returned from Vietnam and his experiences there have left him traumatised and abusive. He unexpectedly inherits a piece of land in Alaska and sees moving to the wilderness as the answer to his problems so the family up root.
The descriptions of the beautiful and wild Alaskan landscape and a way of life that is now vanishing were much appreciated. It is tough but there is a real sense of community pulling together to get through. In this country and climate mistakes will kill you.
We discussed abusive relationships and what keeps people in them. The clinging to the hope that change will come. Leni’s mother, Cora, knew that ‘flirting’ with other men would bring Ernt’s anger on her head, but it didn’t stop her – it was as though she needed to test him to prove that he loved her.
Ultimately it is a book about strong women although I personally preferred another of Hannah’s books ‘The Nightingale’.