Megan's Reviews > The Great Alone

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
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it was ok

Only 2 stars because she's a "good" writer and I did keep reading until the end to see what happened. Really deserves one star. What schlock! Was this meant to be a Young Adult book? Or the screenplay treatment for a bad Hallmark movie? As mentioned, Hannah's writing is quite nice and she paints quite a vivid and lovely picture of Alaska. But she does it OVER AND OVER AND OVER again. We get it. Alaska is wild and beautiful and harsh. On to the characters - each and everyone is a completely one dimensional caricature. The beautiful, love-struck mother with the loving, wealthy parents, who allows her crazy, penniless husband to force her and her teen daughter to move into a cabin with no electricity or toilet in Alaska. Glorious Mama (what was with the book being in third person but calling the parents "Mama" and "Dad?) then allows crazy husband to beat the living hell out of her repeatedly (something the daughter never notices until Alaska). Daughter meanwhile just loves living in a shack in the tundra and magically meets the love of her life in the one room school. Never for a moment does she resent her beautiful, perfect mother for foisting this life upon her and refusing to leave her insane, violent husband. Dad is a mysteriously released POW who starts out lovely and ends up a complete nutjob. Neighbors are godsends or Doomsdayers, with no countervailing good or bad characteristics. The plot goes out of control - endless awful and ENTIRELY PREVENTABLE things happen. As Hannah reminds endlessly, Alaska is dangerous! But hey, fall in that ice, run your car off the road, fall down that ravine, take that punch to the face, have unprotected sex, make it as bad as you possibly can so your implausible redemption is all that schlockier. So many idiotic plot holes arise in the last 1/2 of the book and the love story is just so saccharine and unlikely. I rolled my eyes so often, I can't even believe I finished the book. Also, it is at least 150 pages too long. I know I enjoyed The Nightingale, so I was heartily disappointed by this one. SKIP!
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Reading Progress

December 30, 2017 – Shelved
December 30, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
February 19, 2018 – Started Reading
February 21, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)

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message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Wendell Great review!


message 2: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Elizabeth you said what it! thank u. it was ridiculous!


Wesley Andrews Thank you. I'm 54 pages in and I've already had difficulty in some way, with almost a dozen passages.


Wesley Andrews And with the exception of some off-putting cliches in the beginning of The Nightingale, I basically loved that book. I wanted to keep giving this book a chance, but I just can't buy it already. It's not convincing to me. It feels someone writing simultaneously about several subjects with which they are unfamiliar.


Marquette 100% agree


Daria I definitely enjoyed your review more than the book! Thank you.


message 7: by Tess (new) - rated it 1 star

Tess Totally agree. I stopped reading 150 pages in. I wasn't enjoying the book at all.


Normaw I wondered if it was because I listened to the audio version. But I totally agree. Lots of eye rolling and "oh brother". Could hardly finish.


Nico I with I remembered who recommended this book. What a waste of time! Just utterly ridiculous. It was like reading pain porn. No thanks.


Yuliya Agree with all of this!


Veronica It was horrible...I’m shocked at the number of 5 star reviews and overall rating. It was incredibly long and I don’t think I’m stupid enough to be able to enjoy one endless cliche!


Laura Sanchez Completely agree about the YA feel if the book. How could this end up on adult shelves? I like the outlines of the story, but I am shocked at how highly rated this is.


Heather I honestly wish she would go back to her old style of books instead of these vast novels trying to change the world.


message 14: by Bill (new) - rated it 2 stars

Bill Ha! I totally agree on all points; I'm glad I bailed at 46% :)


message 15: by Maureen (new) - added it

Maureen This is the review i would have written. I was driven half-mad by the storylines. Tom Walker should have called the police on Ernt. And for heavens sake would the police really give a damn that violent miserable crazy Ernt disappeared??? The irksome secrecy of Cora and Leni was infuriating. They deserved a medal. Arghhhh!!!!!!


Kathleen A Fischer Do not read Night Road if you found the lovey dovey plotline cringe worthy! That novel was also 150 pages too long.


message 17: by Mimi (new)

Mimi Joyce I agree with your view on Night Road, Kathleen A Fischer. I read it after The Nightingale and found the writing immature. I hated almost all the characters too. Next I tried Winter Garden and I was mad I wasted my money because that book was boring and the characters were uninteresting. After reading these reviews for The Great Alone, I'll skip it and any other Kristin Hannah books. In my opinion, she's a one hit wonder


Megan Mimi wrote: "I agree with your view on Night Road, Kathleen A Fischer. I read it after The Nightingale and found the writing immature. I hated almost all the characters too. Next I tried Winter Garden and I was..."

Good decision. The Nightingale was great - The Great Alone was awful. She's a good writer - it's too bad she is such a terrible plotter and so sappy to boot!


Christy Harris Thanks for the review. I am a third of the way through and looking for a reason to continue on and understand all the 5 star ratings. I hate to put down a book but I feel myself falling into a depression. I LOVE WWII books so I don’t mind sad but This is a different level. Maybe bc at some point you know the war will come to an end and for at least some there will be a light at the end but this just feels like a downward spiral. Thanks to the spoilers it sounds like even after she finds happiness that’s ripped from her too. Need to move on to something else.


Kathy Agree with every word!


Tarek Taha Excellent review...cliche waiting for a movie deal... sad


message 22: by Jen (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jen Nailed it


Kathleen Lamorelle 100% agree. It was ridiculous. Lifetime movie.


message 24: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Heflin The writing is good, especially the descriptions of Alaska. The story is bad in that the angst is over the top. Yes, sad families like this do exist, but, the constant tension and sadness and occasional violence was very tiring to listen to. The parents were awful. I felt very badly for the character of Matthew.


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