Kristin Hannah is an excellent writer. And although The Great Alone is not at all happy – to be honest, it’s pretty darn depressing – I still wanted to keep reading. After returning from the Vietnam War, Leni’s dad inherits land in Alaska. So Leni and her parents load up in a VW bus and make the trek from Seattle to Alaska to live off the land. The story covers their adventures in learning to live on their own in the wilderness, making friends, and starting a new life. But it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. In fact, it’s very little rainbows and sunshine.
Leni’s dad returned from the war a different man, which affected every person around him. The characters in the story deal with PTSD, alcoholism, domestic violence, death, and heartbreak. But there is also redemption and joy found in relationships. As a child, Leni deals with things no child should ever have to deal with. But she’s a survivor. And Hannah’s telling of her survival is poetic. I definitely recommend this book but be warned – it is a little intense and probably not a good beach read. Enjoy!