Book Review: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The Great Alone

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Great Alone is one of those emotionally-driven novels that will have you tearing through it like a VW bus careening over icy roads, hungry to know how everything will turn out for the memorable characters that Hannah weaves into this wilderness tale set in 1970s Alaska. Even though several of the characters edge hard into archetype, she breathes such detail into them that they feel real despite it. (And as we all know, some people really are living breathing archetypes… so hey.) While the book spans a multigenerational struggle against patterns of domestic violence and definitely mediates on the ways the wild works on us as human beings, the true shining gem of the novel is the love story at its core. A great read for those who want an emotionally dramatic story that is both harrowing and satisfying by the end.

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Book Review: The Crimes of Grindelwald by J.K. Rowling

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoy reading screenplays, and since I also enjoyed this film on screen, I knew I’d be savoring this one. Gosh, is it beautifully designed! I’ve cultivated a real love for the Fantastic Beasts series; the more I watch (or read) them, the more I like them. I am a devoted fan of the Harry Potter books, and I liked the films well enough, but I’ve really been captured hard by this new, darker installment in the universe. It’s always a joy to see J.K. Rowling’s pyrotechnics of imagination in play, and I especially respect her decision to give us a hero who challenges traditional notions of masculinity. Newt is quiet, awkward, deeply empathetic, hapless almost all the time, but decisive when it counts. Compassion is his greatest power. I’m fascinated by his place as the lynchpin in this series. Magical beasties and ever-evolving intrigue doesn’t hurt either. And Dumbledore is inscrutable as ever. Looking forward to the next chapter…

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