HANNAH, Kristin. The Great Alone
Booklist Reviews 2017 November #1
Hannah (The Nightingale, 2015) takes readers on a journey to Alaska in the 1970s with the Allbright family: damaged Vietnam vet Ernt; his devoted wife, Cora; and their 13-year-old daughter, Leni, the novel's protagonist. Initially unhappy to leave her Seattle home, Leni soon falls in love with the wilds of remote Kaneq. Leni adjusts to the lack of electricity, running water, and indoor plumbing, but her father's increasingly erratic and violent behavior is much harder to endure. Leni finds an escape in her books and her one-room school, where she meets Matthew, the only other kid her age in the area. Matthew becomes Leni's best friend and eventually her first love. But Leni's father's irrational hatred of Matthew's family threatens to keep them apart, and Leni fears her father's uncontrollable rage could be the death of her and her fragile mother. Though smaller in scope than her previous blockbuster, in this tightly focused drama, Hannah vividly evokes the natural beauty and danger of Alaska and paints a compelling portrait of a family in crisis and a community on the brink of change.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: In addition to the draw of Hannah's massive popularity, this dark family adventure will be rolled out with an enormous first print run, extensive media coverage, and a major author tour. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2017 September #2
In 1974, what could be harder for 13-year-old Leni Allbright than having a dangerously unsettled Vietnam vet dad? Having him lose yet another job and decide to move the family to the Alaskan wilderness and live off the land. The summer of their arrival proves glorious and golden, but trouble comes with the winter snows, as supplies dwindle and Leni's father becomes increasingly unbalanced. With a million-copy first printing.Copyright 2017 Library Journal.
LJ Reviews 2017 October #1
Lenora Allbright is 13 when her father convinces her mother, Cora, to forgo their inauspicious existence in Seattle and move to Kaneq, AK. It's 1974, and the former Vietnam POW sees a better future away from the noise and nightmares that plague him. Having been left a homestead by a buddy who died in the war, Ernt is secure in his beliefs, but never was a family less prepared for the reality of Alaska, the long, cold winters and isolation. Locals want to help out, especially classmate Matthew Walker, who likes everything about Leni. Yet the harsh conditions bring out the worst in Ernt, whose paranoia takes over their lives and exacerbates what Leni sees as the toxic relationship between her parents. The Allbrights are as green as greenhorns can be, and even first love must endure unimaginable hardship and tragedy as the wilderness tries to claim more victims.
PW Reviews 2017 October #2
Hannah's vivid depiction of a struggling family begins as a young father and POW returns from Vietnam, suffering from PTSD. The Allbright family, barely making ends meet in 1974, moves from Seattle to the untamed wilderness of Kaneq, Alaska, to claim a parcel of land left to Ernt by a slain Army buddy. Together with his wife, Cora, who spurned her middle-class parents to marry him, and their 13-year-old daughter, Leni, who barely remembers the adoring dad who's become so restless, Ernt is totally unprepared for the rigors of the family's new home. Soon, his fragile mental health and his relentless abuse of Cora worsen during the long nights of the family's first winter up north, even as the quirky and steely homesteaders around the Allbrights rally to help them. They intervene by forcing Ernt to leave in the winter to work on the newly started oil pipeline, but the added income and absences from Kaneq fail to fix his intractable paranoia and anger. Meanwhile, Leni finds friendship and love in a neighbor boy, Matthew, who is also a troubled survivor of a shattered family. Hannah skillfully situates the emotional family saga in the events and culture of the late '70s—gas shortages, Watergate, Ted Bundy, Patty Hearst, and so on. But it's her tautly drawn characters—Large Marge, Genny, Mad Earl, Tica, Tom—who contribute not only to Leni's improbable survival but to her salvation amid her family's tragedy.