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I haven’t had a chance to update the blog much this week because I’ve been in Alaska.  Ok….maybe I haven’t been in Alaska, but it certainly feels like it!  I’ve had a stressful week filled with some anxiety and I just needed to step away from the world.  Do you ever feel like that?  I just needed to hit the reset button and I wasn’t sure how to do it.  The past week in Texas has been pouring rain, the house has been dark, with sounds of rainfall, so I decided this was a great time to just slow down and read a book.  I had no idea what to read but I stumbled upon The Great Alone, so I downloaded it to my iPad and started to read it instantly.

I don’t read fiction that often anymore, and when I do it’s usually just fluff.  Something cutesy maybe written by Candace Bushnell or Sophie Kinsella…you probably know the type I’m talking about.  This time though I was craving something different, I really wanted to step away from everything and read an incredible story.

I absolutely couldn’t put this book down, it was a great choice.  I’ve never been a speedy reader.  I’m jealous of those people who can read a book in a day.  Nope, not me, I’m a slow reader, one who must focus and really concentrate, the slightest distraction and I can’t pay attention.  When I read “fluff” I usually take a week, sometimes two, just reading a chapter or two a day.  Not this book, every bit of free time I had I spent reading it.  I finished it in 3 days which doesn’t sound impressive but for me it is!  Remember….slow reader!

Most of this story takes place in Alaska during the 70’s.  It’s the story of Leni, a 13 year old girl who feels like an outcast, her mother Cora who is weak and blinded by love, and her traumatized father Ernt, who recently came home from Vietnam and is left haunted by the war.  Ernt suffers from nightmares and rage.  Convinced he needs a fresh start, he packs up his family and moves to Alaska.  They have little money and are unprepared for the harsh cruel winters of Alaska.

The characters must learn survival skills and how to live off the land in their tiny cabin without running water or electricity.  The long brutal Alaskan winter leaves the characters isolated a lot and Ernt’s mental health deteriorates even more.  The strong will of these women and the kindness of the locals will stay with you long after you read the book.  It’s a wonderful story filled with hope, tragedy, courage, and love.  Reading this book had me going through a roller coaster of emotions, but the ending left me happy.  I totally felt refreshed like I had taken a mental 3 day vacation, and in the end when it was time to return to reality I was sad to let the characters go.  The story is vivid and you can really feel the beauty of Alaska come to life.

You can read more in-depth reviews at Amazon, but I’m actually glad I went into the book not knowing much to expect.  Are you needing a mental reset?  Or are you going on vacation and just need a good read?  I totally recommend this book, and if you read it comment and tell me what you thought.  Got any suggestions for me?  Leave them in the comments!